USGS 3DEP Lidar Point Cloud Repository Available as an Amazon Public Dataset

Caitlin Dempsey


The USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) program collects LiDAR data over the conterminous United States, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories. Representing trillions of LiDAR points, this data is now available as an Amazon s3://usgs-lidar Requester Pays bucket.  By also making its elevation data points available via Amazon, users will be able to “retrieve and work with 3DEP data that is quicker than the free FTP download protocol”.

From the press release:

Hobu, Inc. and the U.S Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) collaborated with the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Public Datasets team to organize these data as Entwine Point Tile (EPT) resources, which is a lossless, streamable octree based on LASzip (LAZ) encoding. The data are now part of the Open Data registry provided by AWS*, similar to the Landsat archive. You can find out more about this project on the AWS Public Dataset page.

The LiDAR data can be visualized via the WebGL visualization page,  The over map lets you see where 3DEP data has been uploaded to Amazon.  Click on one of the coverage areas, and you can choose between two interactive web map visualization platforms to view and explore the LiDAR data.

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.