ArcGIS Living Atlas

High resolution data updates to Living Atlas World Elevation Layers (Oct 2019)

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 a few high-resolution elevation datasets as below.

Terrain and TopoBathy layers are updated with:

TopoBathy layer is updated with:

In this release, approximately 346,000 square kilometers of new coverage of USGS 3DEP 1 meter has been added. The graphic below shows the new addition (magenta) along with previously available coverage (green).

3DEP 1m coverage with new addition

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

Linz, Austria – depicting the fine details in urban landscape with lidar derived 0.5 meter data in comparison to Austrian 10 meters

Before and after comparison of Linz Austria

Two Point Mountain, Idaho – highest peak of 3086 m (10124 feet) in the Boise Mountain depicted with USGS 3DEP lidar derived 1 meter in comparison to NED 10 meters

Before and after comparison of Two Point Mountain, Idaho

Puerto Rico – depicting the fine coastal details with 1/9 arc sec (~ 3 meters) bathy data in comparison to 90 meters coastal relief model

Before and after comparison of Puerto Rico bathymetry

Terrain and TopoBathy layers have pre-defined pop-ups, which are enhanced to include many key metadata fields to help understand the datasets better. Default pop-up now also includes a SQL query syntax, which you can use (copy/paste) for definition query in the ArcGIS Desktop applications (Pro, ArcMap) to filter a dataset to work with.

These data updates will be rolled out to the other world elevation tiled layers – Terrain3D, TopoBathy3D, World Hillshade and World Hillshade (Dark) in the next quarter.

For more information about the various data sources available in World Elevation services, check out the Elevation coverage map. You can help 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 20 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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