I would like to download a digital elevation model of the United States, where can I do this?

It doesn't need to be super detailed.

But it would be nice, if was clipped at the country borders – otherwise, I would need the shape of the US so that I can clip the DEM with the shape.

  • 1
    There are many possible datasets available with a basic web search. Downloading a pre-clipped raster only saves you one step, and is likely to cause registration issues with your boundary layer. What datasets has your research uncovered, and what was unsuitable about each?
    – Vince
    May 12, 2019 at 10:58
  • I found Tangram Height Mapper but found it hard to get the exact borders. And on the USGS Earth Explorer, I don't see how I can get one file with all of the US at once. I don't want to download hundreds of files. Would be really glad if you could help on this one.
    – Mario
    May 12, 2019 at 11:21
  • 1
    Please Edit the question to provide additional details. Just adding this bit has exposed two viable questions. You're still missing lots of potential datasets though, so now you also need to quantify "doesn't need to be super detailed" (with an actual resolution) and specify what GIS software you have available, as well. I'm unlikely to answer this, but I can help you to structure an answerable question.
    – Vince
    May 12, 2019 at 14:22

1 Answer 1


After more research, I found a thread on researchgate.net (https://www.researchgate.net/post/How_can_I_download_SRTM_data_of_30_m_resolution) which pointed me to OpenTopography (http://opentopo.sdsc.edu/raster?opentopoID=OTSRTM.042013.4326.1) which is a great website.

On this site, it is possible to download elevation data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) with 90m resolution. The maximum area is 4’050’000 km^2, so I could download all of the US (except Alaska and Hawaii) with 7 strips across the country.

These seven strips with elevation data can then be merged into one raster – I used QGIS for this task, with the merge raster command. Also the clipping can be done in QGIS, with a shapefile of the boundary.

  • This isn't the non-"super detailed" clipped single dataset you requested. Do you need the full 90m should you also downsample by 3x3?
    – Vince
    May 12, 2019 at 17:07
  • No, I don‘t need 90m, but I can downsample it, so even if it is not ideal, it fulfills my needs.
    – Mario
    May 12, 2019 at 17:20

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