Is there an easy way to mass download SRTM data? The data is published for download here, but it's sliced into thousands of small files, and I don't see an FTP option for more efficient downloading... Another issue is that the server seems to die (or run out of bandwidth) when I use a download manager like the "DownThemAll" Firefox extension to get them.

Is there a better resource for getting this data?

5 Answers 5


Update: I think wget would be better, i just don't use it very often:

wget -r -A.zip http://dds.cr.usgs.gov/srtm/version2_1/SRTM3/

Also see for some retrieval wait options (if you want to be courteous): https://superuser.com/questions/178297/wget-terminates-unexpectedly/178326#178326

You could curl the files with a little bit of text editor work.

alt text

For curl, the man page is here: http://curl.haxx.se/docs/manpage.html

Download here: http://curl.haxx.se/download.html

I think there are throttling and retry options (check the above-mentioned man page).

curl -O http://dds.cr.usgs.gov/srtm/version2_1/SRTM3/Australia/S11E119.hgt.zip
curl -O http://dds.cr.usgs.gov/srtm/version2_1/SRTM3/Australia/S11E120.hgt.zip
curl -O http://dds.cr.usgs.gov/srtm/version2_1/SRTM3/Australia/S11E121.hgt.zip
curl -O http://dds.cr.usgs.gov/srtm/version2_1/SRTM3/Australia/S11E122.hgt.zip
curl -O http://dds.cr.usgs.gov/srtm/version2_1/SRTM3/Australia/S11E123.hgt.zip

In addition to Jay's excellent pointers, I would recommend using the --timestamping flag when downloading so you can only get files that are newer than on your file system (really useful when your downloading gets interrupted).

Additionally, using the --no-parent flag means that only the SRTM3 directory is downloaded rather than it continuing up the tree to the other directories.

The full wget commandline I'm using:

wget -r --no-parent --random-wait --timestamping -A.zip http://dds.cr.usgs.gov/srtm/version2_1/SRTM3/

  • the list of curl statements is cut off due to character limits for stackexchange answers...but you get the idea. Jan 5, 2011 at 18:36
  • wget works fantastically! It seems to behave well enough (not hammering the server) so it's not bombing out even though it's automated. Thanks!
    – colemanm
    Jan 5, 2011 at 21:23

You can download and clip a portion of the SRTM 30m DEM with one command with the elevation Python command line tool.

Install it and perform the self check with:

$ pip install elevation

Check if you have all the dependencies installed (mainly GDAL tools):

$ eio selfcheck

Download and clip a portion of the SRTM 30m DEM giving bounding box as WGS84 coordinates:

$ eio clip -o Rome-DEM.tif --bounds 12.35 41.8 12.65 42

You can use Maperitive to download SRTM tiles automatically and unzip them. Just zoom in/out to the area of your interest and it will download all the required tiles to your disk. And best of all, it's free.

Here's a sample hillshading + hypsometric rendering generated using SRTM tiles in Maperitive: enter image description here


FTP site


Folder /glcf/SRTM

I use Filezilla - fast and efficient


Globalmapper is an extremely easy way to download data like this. They even have a built-in option. You can then clip, project, and export into a variety of formats. I realize this is a pay for option, but it is a really valuable tool to have IMHO.

Cheers, David

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