University of Wisconsin–Madison

Elevation/LiDAR Data

Wisconsin Elevation and LiDAR Data Inventory

The WisconsinView Data Portal is the primary archive for Wisconsin public LiDAR projects, including data from counties, FEMA and the USGS national 3D Elevation Program (3DEP).  While not yet a complete archive of all LiDAR data acquired in the state, the collection is growing, especially with new 3DEP projects being completed each year.  

Below is a map with links to the WisconsinView Data Portal locations and additional information of the data available for download. For several counties without LiDAR data in the WisconisnView Portal yet, there is a link to local Government Web Mapping sites for obtaining LiDAR data or a link to the County Web site for requesting information about the data.

County Elevation Datasets

Local governments, primarily counties and a few cities, often acquire high-resolution LiDAR for the purpose of creating elevation datasets.   For data not online, you must contact the county or city directly.  Only a small proportion of counties provide online, downloadable elevation products for free.  

Other Topographic Datasets

Developed from USGS 1:24,000 paper topographic maps from 1960-1990’s, the National Elevation Dataset was for a long time the only digital elevation data available.  It’s still useful at low resolution especially combined with a shaded relief transparent overlay.

Great Lakes Bathymetry and Topobathy

A few bathymetric datasets exist for the Great Lakes, from NOAA. These were collected many decades ago after World War II using acoustic sonar technology.  Topobathy, a combination of topography and nearshore bathymetry, is collected with a special green laser LiDAR that penetrates clear water to a few meters depth along with a regular LiDAR sensor for the shoreland surface.  They are combined into a continuous shore and nearshore DEM.  The US Army Corps of Engineers has a repeating program to collect topobathy along the Great Lakes coasts.

Need Assistance?

If you are having trouble locating elevation data in Wisconsin or need further help, please contact us via e-Mail or at (608) 262-3065.

Last updated: October 1, 2018