Just found an inexpensive way of getting a contour map, thought I'd share. It uses LiDAR data, which is very accurate.
It's a 2-step process, A) Getting the LiDAR data from the USGS, B) Converting it to a Contour Map you can see on Google Earth.
A) If you go here, you can see if the gov't has LiDAR data for your place: http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/ 1. Type in your Zip Code in the box for "Address/Place."
The box is located in the left hand column, under "1. Enter Search Criteria"
2. Drag the marker to your farm.
3. Click the tab for "Data Sets" at the very top row.
The tab is located next to the "Search Criteria" tab.
4. Select "Digital Elevation", then select the box for "LIDAR."
5. Scroll all the way down, then click the "Results" Box.
Then select the download icon to get your LiDAR file.
B) After you have the LiDAR download, you can hire this guy (firstname.lastname@example.org), he charged me $22 for converting the data into 2 contour maps. For my place, 60 acres, I had to download 2 adjoining tiles of data, which he spliced together for me and made the contour maps to the specs I gave him.
And nope, I'm not getting a kickback, I hired him from Upwork after I got frustrated from hours of looking at Youtube videos and downloading free software. Finally gave up and the $22 was money well spent!
Thanks Bryan for starting this thread and letting me and others know about this inexpensive way to get accurate contour maps and mentioning Adrian Diaconu.
Working with Adrian has been a pleasure! He has worked for the last two days guiding me and my husband on getting data for the resulting contour maps.
Of course, the USGS site came back with "no results" for LIDAR data for our back-in-the-woods 10 acres, but Adrian helped us obtain other data sets he could use. He also convinced us that Google Earth's KML/KMZ files would give us more useful data (which they did!) instead of jpg files...but he also sent the Drainage Network map and two Contour maps (1ft and 2 ft intervals) in KML/KMZ, jpg and jgw formats to make sure we could utilize the information,
When we couldn't open the first set of maps he sent; he resent them and even offered to connect via team viewer and open them for us. Wow! Like he hadn't already done enough. All this and he charged us only $22.22 USD for all the maps and all the emails he had to deal with while patiently suggesting work-a-rounds with our very basic computer skillset. Thank you, Adi!!
I'm stuck. Hit download, then choose what....LAS,LAZ or XML Metadata? Then it says "sign in with your existing USGS registered username and password". Existing? Didn't see where I could create an account. Help.
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Wow I love the Drainage and Watershed information!
I am forever fighting with the NRCS on practices because my farm lies at the top of a very big hill and converges into two watersheds. Worse yet, one watershed is low priority while the other is high. proving which fields (or parts of the field) are on what side of the dividing line typically means obtaining a grant or not! I like the return on investment of that!!
Is that your typical rate: $22 for 60 acres?
I am undecided which would be better for me however. The drainage is nice as it shows shed square footages and thus could be used to calculate culvert sizing needs and such, while the watersheds information seems complicated (maybe it is just me). However with 2 foot contours, the remaining two could be determined readily, far better then the 20 foot ones I currently have...but on a hillside with some grades approaching 12% or better? Would that be overwhelming?
It is hard to have a standard price. Because some have bigger farms and request only contours others have smaller farms and request more products (or I offer).
This is one thing another thing is what data is available.
Do your area of interest has LIDAR data?
What is the level of processing level of the LIDAR data?
Depending on these factors I can asses how much work would be needed from my side.
But to make it clear and simple the best would be if you could send me a KML file with the extents of your area of interest and what products are you looking to get. This way I will check analyze available data and make workload assessment and than I will get back to you on email with my proposal.
- contours 2 ( foot interval) format KML or other as you wish
- digital elevation model
- aerial imagery
- drainage with streams and watersheds
- ridge lines
etc whatever else you will need and I did not thought about it.
I sent an email quite a while ago to Adrian at his gmail address but got no reply. Adrian, are you still there? I have a project in Spain, I don't know if you can get the data you need for outside the US.
Most "first world" countries have free elevation data (either elevation models or Lidar images) available, and in most cases contours, watersheds, drainage, etc. can be obtained, the detail depending on the spatial resolution of the specific data. If anyone is interested I can help get the data and process it. You can send an email to email@example.com and we'll sort out the details...
Just wanted to update this thread thread to say Adi is still providing this great service. I wasn't able to find the LIDAR data by the method listed above, but Adi found something that worked. I highly recommend contacting him, it's a real bargain for such an amazing land planning tool!