Got Lidar?

Updated July 16, 2021 for KY, MA, NE, and TX.

I help to maintain the data in the U.S. Interagency Elevation Inventory (USIEI). This one stop shop for determining the availability of high-resolution elevation data (mainly lidar) in the U.S. and territories, unites many federal agencies in a collaborative effort to let elevation data users know where data exists and provides helpful information about it. Helping keep this data up to date allows me to see just how accessible the data is and where it is hosted. I would like to share some of these sites with fellow elevation data users. While this list is not exhaustive, it provides a good list of where you can download lidar data.

There are a couple of heavy hitters, and by heavy hitters, I mean sites where much of the country’s topographic lidar data are available. They are:

  1. The USGS National Map – this site has a viewer for specific downloads and an ftp site for bulk download. Also available and not very obvious, users can also download the contractor delivered DEMs at this link: The reports and breaklines for newer data sets are also often available in the las point cloud metadata folder.
  1. NOAA Digital Coast– this site also provides the user with the ability to do either custom or bulk downloads of data sets in coastal states.  This site allows users to do processing on the point cloud data, including changing datums and projections, as well as creating derived products such as DEMs and contours. Coastal states and territories are the focus of the holdings and this is the primary location for topobathy lidar data.
  1. Open Topography– this site hosts several of the same data sets as above sources, but also includes smaller research specific data sets. Similar to the Digital Coast, it offers processing capability.

Many states have their own elevation download sites:

  1. Alaska –
  2. Arkansas –
  3. Connecticut –
  4. District of Columbia –
  5. Florida –
  6. Illinois –
  7. Indiana –
  8. Iowa –
  9. Kentucky –
  10. Louisiana –
  11. Maryland –
  12. Massachusetts –
  13. Minnesota –
  14. Mississippi –
  15. Missouri –
  16. Nebraska –
  17. New Hampshire –
  18. New York –
  19. North Carolina –
  20. North Dakota –
  21. Ohio –
  22. Pennsylvania –
  23. Rhode Island –
  24. South Dakota –
  25. Tennessee –
  26. Texas –
  27. Utah –
  28. Vermont –
  29. Virginia –
  30. Washington –
  31. West Virginia –
  32. Wisconsin –

There are also consortiums that make their data available. Some of these include:

  1. Puget Sound Lidar Consortium –
  2. Oregon Lidar Consortium –
  3. Idaho Lidar Consortium –

The final two in our list are organizations that collect lidar to support their research:

  1. National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) –
  2. Goddard’s LiDAR, Hyperspectral & Thermal Imager (G-LiHT) –

This list shows you that there is a lot of lidar data available for free download and the list keeps growing. The USIEI brings all the sources together in one place for elevation data users to discover and download. It doesn’t hold the data, but it sure makes finding it easier.

A query for available data in North Carolina provides the user with a list of data sets and per data set, multiple ways to access the data.


    • Nathan,
      I don’t think there is. One issue is that the data may be stored in a compressed format, making storage size statements unreliable. Recent point count estimates for National Map and Digital Coast are approximately 10 trillion and 6 trillion points respectively. There is some overlap between those though.


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