ArcGIS Living Atlas

High resolution data updates to Living Atlas World Elevation Layers and Tools (March 2021)

ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World provides foundation elevation layers and tools to support analysis and visualization across the ArcGIS system. These layers get updated quarterly with high resolution elevation data from open sources and the community maps program. In this release, world elevation layers and tools are updated with a few high-resolution elevation datasets.

Terrain and TopoBathy

These layers are updated with the following datasets:

With these updates, Latvia and Lithuania now have 24 times more detail. Here are a few examples highlighting the improvements with before and after images.

Daugavpils Fortress, Latvia – fine details of an early 19th century fortress depicted with lidar derived 1-meter data in comparison to 24 meters WorldDEM4Ortho

The Gauja Valley, Latvia – Gauja river and valley depicted with lidar derived 1-meter data in comparison to 24 meters WorldDEM4Ortho

Minija River, Lithuania – the largest river in western Samogitia depicted with lidar derived 1-meter data in comparison to 24 meters WorldDEM4Ortho

Nemunas Loops Regional Park, Lithuania – fine details depicted with lidar derived 1-meter data in comparison to 24 meters WorldDEM4Ortho

Gerlachovský štít, Slovakia – the highest peak (2655 meters) in the High Tatras, in Slovakia depicted with 10 meters data in comparison to 24 meters WorldDEM4Ortho

Elevation Analysis Tools

In this release, elevation analysis tools (ProfileViewshed and Summarize Elevation) are also updated with 10 meters data for Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia. When these ‘Ready To Use’ tools are run using desktop clients (ArcGIS Pro, ArcMap) on the above geographies, and ‘DEM resolution’ is selected as ‘10m’ or ‘Finest’, the analysis will be performed using 10 meters data.

Elevation Profile generated across Gauja River, Latvia using LGIA’s 10 meters elevation data

The Profile tool now uses the GEBCO 15 arc second (approx. 500 meters) dataset as default bathymetry instead of the GEBCO 30 arc second (approx. 1000 meters).

These data updates will be rolled out to the world elevation tiled services – Elevation 3D (Terrain3D and TopoBathy3D) and Hillshade (World Hillshade and World Hillshade (Dark) ) by the next quarter.

To see the coverage extents of each source comprising World Elevation services, check out the Elevation coverage map.

You can help in improving these services by contributing high-resolution elevation data to Living Atlas of the World. To participate and learn more, check out the Esri Community Maps for Elevation program.

About the author

Rajinder has more than 16 years of experience in GIS and Remote Sensing. He came to Esri about 12 years ago and has worked with various teams in different capacities. In his current role, he leads the community elevation program at Esri and has wide experience in cartographic visualization, image processing, databases and geo-processing. By virtue of his strong research interest in terrain visualization, Rajinder has developed a multi-directional hillshade ( algorithm to improve terrain visualization in Esri basemaps, which is also available as part of world elevation layers. He has also developed a fusion technique ( which maintains details and colors when integrating colored rasters with hillshades. Rajinder holds a Master of Science degree in Geoinformatics from the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), The Netherlands, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban & Regional Planning from GND University, Amritsar, India.

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