The Most Comprehensive Map of Earth’s Elevations Ever Published


A new map from NASA offers the most complete view of elevations on Earth ever presented:

"The Global Digital Elevation Model was created using nearly 1.3 million images collected by a Japanese camera on board NASA's Terra spacecraft. It is made up of a giant grid of 23,000 tiles, with each height point spaced 98ft apart.

It shows a detailed representation of the planet's land mass. In this colorized version, low elevations are purple, medium elevations are greens and yellows, and high elevations are orange, red and white. 'This is the most complete, consistent global digital elevation data yet made available to the world,' said NASA scientist Woody Turner. It is a large improvement on the previous best topographic map, where 80 per cent of the planet's landmass was surveyed during the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission."

Click to enlarge.

In related news, scientists predict New Orleans and much of the Mississippi delta will be completely underwater by 2100.


  1. Mary In Iowa says

    Though it is upsetting that the US will have problems with shifting coastlines and enlarged bays (california), the biggest problem I see is Europe. With more concentrations of people, they will be looking to emigrate somewhere and most likely to the US.

    I wonder who will get to name the first of the many islands to come? As a geographer, I am intrigued and worried all at the same time.

  2. Paul R says

    Seems like Kiliminjaro would be more prominent. It’s almost 20,000 feet, which isn’t Everest (29K) or K2 (28K), but it’s still one of the tallest peaks in the world.

    Mary, I don’t know what Europe will do, but I can almost guarantee that California will develop desalination plants and start watering deserts or the Central Valley (or some other bizarre scheme) before it allows, say, large swaths of San Francisco to go under water. The land is too valuable and densely populated.