ArcGIS Living Atlas

High resolution data updates to Living Atlas World Elevation Layers (June 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 many high-resolution elevation datasets as described below.

Terrain and TopoBathy

These layers are updated with topographic lidar derived bare earth elevation:


TopoBathy layer is updated with the following bathymetry datasets:

In this release, USGS 3DEP 1 meter got a significant update, increasing the 1m coverage area to almost double. The graphic below shows the coverage of newly added (magenta) 3DEP 1m data along with previously available (yellowish green) coverage.

3DEP 1m coverage

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

Highland, CA, USA – fine details depicted with USGS 3DEP lidar derived 1 meter in suburban landscape in comparison to old NED 10 meters


Oberdorf, Basel-Landschaft Canton, Switzerland – depicting the fine details with lidar derived 0.25 meter data in comparison to WorldDEM4Ortho 24 meters


Langendorf, Solothurn Canton, Switzerland – depicting the fine details in urban landscape with lidar derived 0.5 meter data in comparison to WorldDEM4Ortho 24 meters


Baden, Aargau Canton, Switzerland – depicting the fine details in the hilly landscape with lidar derived 0.5 meter data in comparison to WorldDEM4Ortho 24 meters


These data updates will also be rolled out to other world elevation derivative products – Elevation 3D (Terrain3D and TopoBathy3D) and World Hillshade in the next quarter (Q3).

For more information about the various data sources available in World Elevation services, check out the Elevation coverage map. Esri will keep improving World Elevation Services, Tools and derivative products by including high resolution data from open source and the Esri Community Maps program. Additionally, to contribute high-resolution elevation data to Living Atlas of the World, 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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