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I need to calculate the elevation of 1600 survey plots covering all of the UK - I have these formatted as a point shapefile. I have looked at the OS50 dataset but this is only available as tiles and it would take forever to process each tile individually - my points cover the entire country. Is there free-to-use raster elevation data anywhere that is not split into many tiles?

I have read several questions on here relating to sourcing elevation data and I also downloaded the Environment Agency LIDAR composite dtm dataset - but this does not appear to contain any asc or tiff files so I can't get a raster from it. I just want a simple calc of elevation for all these plots without having to process many individual tiles.

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  • it doesn't take long to stitch the OS tiles together - just unpack and build a VRT of each tile and then process them together
    – Ian Turton
    Jul 6, 2022 at 12:57
  • I'm guessing SRTM1 (1 arcsecond resolution) isn't fine enough for your needs? Jul 6, 2022 at 14:07

2 Answers 2

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You can download the Copernicus Digital Elevation Model covering Europe at different spatial resolutions from here (GeoTIFF files):

https://data.mundialis.de/geonetwork/srv/eng/catalog.search#/search?keyword=Copernicus

For the download links, see the respective Zenodo DOI entries therein.

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If you are interested only in elevation data, there is no need to download and process large TIFFs thanks to elevatr package.

Let's get some species occurrence data from GBIF as example. Calystegia pulchra, from GB territory.

occ <- rgbif::occ_data(scientificName = "Calystegia pulchra", 
          country = "GB", hasCoordinate = TRUE)

In next step let's take first 20 rows and convert it to sf data frame with POINT coordinates.

occ <- head(occ$data, 20) |>
  sf::st_as_sf(coords = c("decimalLongitude", "decimalLatitude"), 
    crs = sf::st_crs(4326)) |>
  subset(select = c("key", "scientificName"))

And finally let's add the elevation using mutate from dplyr package:


occ |>
  dplyr::mutate(ele = elevatr::get_elev_point(geometry, src = "aws"))
#> Mosaicing & Projecting
#> Note: Elevation units are in meters
#> Simple feature collection with 20 features and 3 fields
#> Geometry type: POINT
#> Dimension:     XY
#> Bounding box:  xmin: -6.19056 ymin: 51.49552 xmax: -0.17902 ymax: 57.42103
#> Geodetic CRS:  WGS 84
#> # A tibble: 20 × 4
#>    key        scientificName                                  geometry ele$elevation $elev_units            $geometry
#>  * <chr>      <chr>                                        <POINT [°]>         <dbl> <chr>                <POINT [°]>
#>  1 3320924569 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood  (-0.17902 51.49553)            15 meters       (-0.17902 51.49553)
#>  2 3437494613 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood (-1.962333 51.78564)           191 meters      (-1.962333 51.78564)
#>  3 3785877810 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood  (-2.541045 52.5979)           169 meters       (-2.541045 52.5979)
#>  4 3352641836 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood (-6.189535 57.41207)            44 meters      (-6.189535 57.41207)
#>  5 3338086543 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood (-2.302697 53.20301)            75 meters      (-2.302697 53.20301)
#>  6 3352720276 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood  (-3.052632 54.8225)            81 meters       (-3.052632 54.8225)
#>  7 3352736637 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood (-1.614114 55.37932)            19 meters      (-1.614114 55.37932)
#>  8 3384449063 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood (-4.681922 57.14801)            78 meters      (-4.681922 57.14801)
#>  9 3421262904 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood  (-6.19056 57.42103)            75 meters       (-6.19056 57.42103)
#> 10 3392248456 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood (-6.159327 56.11731)            12 meters      (-6.159327 56.11731)
#> 11 3437541839 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood (-1.962333 51.78564)           191 meters      (-1.962333 51.78564)
#> 12 2641626771 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood  (-2.82636 53.56805)            46 meters       (-2.82636 53.56805)
#> 13 2988497510 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood (-2.094492 53.71386)           244 meters      (-2.094492 53.71386)
#> 14 3057847359 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood  (-2.83544 52.59035)           273 meters       (-2.83544 52.59035)
#> 15 3384377467 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood           (-2.34 53)           125 meters                (-2.34 53)
#> 16 2907372606 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood (-1.962333 51.78564)           191 meters      (-1.962333 51.78564)
#> 17 3115794572 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood  (-5.405346 56.4888)            32 meters       (-5.405346 56.4888)
#> 18 3785862074 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood (-2.762203 52.38906)            92 meters      (-2.762203 52.38906)
#> 19 3115792727 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood (-5.403569 56.49253)            32 meters      (-5.403569 56.49253)
#> 20 2868245139 Calystegia pulchra Brumm. & Heywood (-2.520677 56.59051)            35 meters      (-2.520677 56.59051)

Created on 2022-10-01 with reprex v2.0.2

Regards, Grzegorz

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