Ask A Cartographer

Elevation maps for a specific region/town

September 21 2009 | 0 comments
Categories: Map Data

I am in the process of creating a map for the city of Lincoln, Nebraska, depicting Elevation. Can I obtain a shapefiles or template files from the ESRI Resource Center? Or what layers of information would I need to create this using ArcGIS Info?

Mapping Center Answer:

The authoritative source for elevation data in the U.S. is the USGS.  To download elevation data which will be in the form of an elevation raster dataset go to the website and launch the viewer to for U.S. data.  Then zoom to the Lincoln area. Using the Define Rectangular download area tool drag an extent to download, and then choose from the available data layers.

It looks like LIDAR data is also available for Lincoln, and that can be downloaded from another USGS site:  That will give you a much higher resolution elevation dataset (and a much larger file to download and process).

From these elevation datasets you can derive Hillshade (terrain shading) and contour datasets.

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