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There are many options for downloading elevation data for the Earth (e.g. USGS Earth Explorer), but some of these include vegetation (trees) and structures (buildings).

However, I am looking for a "bare earth" dataset that covers the full globe, downloadable in GeoTIFF format. I would love some suggestions, if anyone is aware of a specific dataset that provides this, or something similar.

  • Could you be more specific? Are you looking for elevation and climate data? Something like topographical data? Do you have a sample of the type of data you seek? – Barry Carter Apr 1 '16 at 16:53
  • My apologies. I'm looking for elevation data. For instance, USGS has SRTM-1 data. But this is first-reflection, so it includes reflection from treetops and buildings. I'm looking for a similar DEM/DTM dataset w/o the trees or building reflections -- only the elevation data. – AaronJPung Apr 1 '16 at 16:59
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From what I found from a cursory browsing through the topographic dataset description of the USGS world, you probably want to use the Global Multi-resolution Terrain Elevation Data 2010 (GMTED2010), with its 34 page technical documentation, mainly comparing it to the older GTOPO30 dataset. Deviations due to vegetation are discussed (p. 12):

A raster-based comparison was conducted between GMTED2010 and GTOPO30. The calculated minimum, maxi- mum, mean difference, and standard deviation for the 30-arc- second systematic subsample and mean products compared to GTOPO30 are presented in table 5. The mean difference for both GMTED2010 30-arc-second products indicates about a 4.3-meter bias compared to GTOPO30. One likely reason for the positive bias is that the elevation of SRTM areas with foliage represents vegetation canopy elevations.

However, the only way to download the dataset seems to be over the clunky EarthExplorer interface, which even requires creating a user account.

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