I would like to use Google Elevation API in a non-profit scientific research (river floodplain relief study). I have looked through the documentation, but my poor English leaves me no chances to understand if I am allowed to do this.

I just want to:

  1. Parse Google DEM using Google Elevation API;

  2. Store the received data locally in shp for future processing;

Received data will not be displayed anyway: I am going to use it only for the calculation of specific relief parameters.

I will appreciate for any clarification of this question, especially from Google employees :)


Unfortunately the terms are bound to only using the service with Google Maps API

The Elevation API has the following limits in place:

2,500 requests per 24 hour period.
512 locations per request.
25,000 total locations per 24 hour period 

but more importantly The Elevation API may only be used in conjunction with displaying results on a Google map; using elevation data without displaying a map for which elevation data was requested is prohibited. For complete details on allowed usage, consult the Maps API Terms of Service License Restrictions.


links to Google Maps Terms of Use


  • Thank you. This is confusing, because both partser and whole research are ready, and I just wanted to publish a paper citing the Google Earth DEM as a source of geodata :( – Vitaly Isaev Dec 6 '13 at 6:11

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