ArcGIS Living Atlas

High resolution data updates to Living Atlas World Elevation Layers (July 2020)

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

Terrain and TopoBathy layers are updated with:

TopoBathy layer is updated with:

Here are a few examples highlighting the improvements with before and after images.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada– fine details depicted with lidar derived NRCan’s HRDEM 1 meter in south-west Toronto in comparison to old NED 10 meters

Värnamo, Sweden – depicting the fine details of urban landscape with lidar derived 0.5 meter data in comparison to 24 meters WorldDEM4Ortho

New Zealand – depicting the coastal improvements with 15 arc sec (~ 464 meters) GEBCO 2019 grid in comparison to 30 arc sec (~ 928 meters) GEBCO 2014

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. Elevation coverage map description also contains an enhanced table listing all the data, sources and coverage.

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 19 years of experience in GIS and Remote Sensing. 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. Rajinder has developed a multi-directional hillshade ( algorithm to improve terrain visualization in Esri basemaps. 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 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban & Regional Planning.

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