May 19, 2022

New Maps and Data: High-Resolution, Satellite-Based, Topographic Maps Of Alaska (Available For the First Time)

From a White House Post on Medium:

To enhance the ability of Alaskans to plan for a better future, President Obama directed the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to lead a collaborative effort to create the “first-ever, publicly available, high-resolution, satellite-based, elevation maps of Alaska” by 2016 and the entire Arctic by 2017.

The resulting Arctic Digital Elevation Models, or ArcticDEMs, project, which responds specifically to the President’s Executive Order on Enhancing Coordination of National Efforts in the Arctic, brings together critical knowledge and capabilities from the scientific, research, academic, technical, and intelligence communities.

Learn More, Read the Complete Post


Direct to New Maps and Data Files (via National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Media Coverage

“Alaska Has Finally Been Mapped as Precisely as Mars” (via National Geographic)

From the Article:

Whereas existing topographical maps don’t resolve features smaller than a hundred feet across, the new maps have a horizontal resolution of around 7 to 17 feet. Their vertical resolution is comparable, but in some places they show elevation differences of less than two feet—sharp enough to detect the rapid changes that a warming climate is creating in the topography of Alaska.

This is a game-changing data set,” said Paul Morin, director of the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center, who is overseeing the production of the new maps from satellite imagery. “No other country could have done this.” Arctic DEM, as the project is known, is rolling out with Alaska, but by the end of 2017—after a supercomputer in Illinois has crunched all the satellite data—it will cover the entire Arctic above 60º north latitude, in Canada, Russia, and other Arctic countries. (Read about the challenges of the Arctic resource boom.)

Read the Complete Article

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.