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An R package for accessing elevation data from various sources

The elevatr package currently provides access to elevation data from AWS Open Data Terrain Tiles and the Open Topography Global datasets API for raster digital elevation models. For point elevation data,the USGS Elevation Point Query Service) may be used or the point elevations may be derived from the AWS Tiles. Additional elevation data sources may be added as they come available.

Currently this package includes just two primary functions to access elevation web services:

  • get_elev_point(): Get point elevations using the USGS Elevation Point Query Service (for the US Only) or using the AWS Terrian Tiles (global). This will accept a data frame of x (long) and y (lat), a SpatialPoints/SpatialPointsDataFame, or a Simple Features object as input. A SpatialPointsDataFrame or Simple Features object is returned, depending on the class of the input locations.
  • get_elev_raster(): Get elevation data as a raster (e.g. a Digital Elevation Model) from the AWS Open Data Terrain Tiles. Other sources may be added later. This will accept a data frame of of x (long) and y (lat) or any sp or raster object as input and will return a raster object of the elevation tiles that cover the bounding box of the input spatial data.


Version 0.4.2 of this package is currently available from CRAN and may be installed by:


The development version (this repo) may installed with devtools:


Contributions and Use Cases

As elevatr is getting more widely used, there have been some great contributions, use cases, and additional packages that have come from the user community. If you have one you’d like to share, let me know and I will gladly add it. Here are some of the ones that I have seen. Thank you all!


Mapzen terrain tiles (which supply the AWS source) contain 3DEP, SRTM, and GMTED2010 content courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey and ETOPO1 content courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Open Topography API provide access to the SRTM and the ALOS World 3D datasets. See for details.


The source code for this repository is maintained at which is also mirrored at

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