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Available High-Resolution Topography and Bathymetry Data Sets

by ansley — last modified 2013-07-12 16:05

What data are available, and where can background information be found about the data processing?

Jaison Kruian contributed this note about data sources and an article discussing available data. (November 2006)

There is a recent article in Marine Geophysical Researches, by Marks and Smith on "An Evaluation of Publicly Available Global Bathymetry Grids" (seeπ=2) (Volume 27, Number 1, 2006, DOI 10.1007/s11001-005-2095-4) which talks about Etopo2, GEBCO and few other datasets. This is an excellent article to read if you are interested in fine resolution bathymetry. Understanding how data is processed and put onto grids is important when choosing which data set to use.

Regarding the topography/coastline datasets, a number of high-resolution datastes are available. There are datasets like GEBCO, Etopo2 and GLOBE (only land elevation) which have resolutions of 1 Minutes, 2 Minutes and 1 Km respectively. Here is a list of freely available global datasets. As others become available, or if readers know of further sources, you are urged to contact the Ferret developers with that information at the Ferret "Contact Us" link.

Please note that the ocean topography or land elevation datasets can be used to create new coastline datasets (extracting lat & lon for zero depth/ elevation) but read the dataset documentation, especially about the data processing, to determine how reliable coastline data will be when derived like this.

List of free, Global, Ocean Topography/Land Elevation/Coastline/River datasets

Ocean Topography

Land Elevation

Ridge Bathymetry

Coastline/Shoreline Data

Political/International/Internal Boundaries

  • Dataset Names:
    • World Data Bank II Political boundaries
    • World Data Bank II International Boundaries
    • World Data Bank II Internal Boundaries
    • World Vector Shoreline & All political boundaries
  • Resolution: .....
  • Data Format: ASCII
  • Source: NOAA NGDC
  • On the Web:


Where to look for more information?

You can also check:

More about Etopo2

  • CleanTOPO2: CleanTOPO2 is a touched up and generalized version of SRTM30 Plus, a public domain dataset that combines sea floor and land elevation data of the entire world. On the Web:

General Notes about sites listed above

  • With dss.ucar and you have to create an account (it is free) in order to download datasets. While creating account with, keep the final page where the verification code is to be pasted as it is, and wait for a mail from bodc. Once you get the mail copy and paste the verification code into the box provided.
  • Citations for above datasets are available/mentioned in the respective web pages.
    Names marked as (DODS) can be accessed via DODS, using Ferret, e.g.
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