Academic and Research Partnerships

As a National Science Foundation data facility, OpenTopography works to broaden access to high resolution global topography datasets and processing tools. We provide open and easy-to-access topography datasets over a range of scientifically interesting locations, largely in the United States. As a Nature Recommended Data Repository, we provide multiple pathways for accessing academic datasets in the cloud via OpenTopography. We also offer on-demand processing tools, which remove many common obstacles to processing these challenging to use topography datasets. We are available to consult with individual NSF-funded PIs on a wide range of applications. We also offer workshops at many conferences and have tailored workshops for individual organizations and institutions.

Data hosting and distribution:

OpenTopography is available to host NSF-funded topography dataset collections. This service can be used to fulfill NSF requirements for Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results and the Data Management Plan Requirement. In the case of recently acquired data still under embargo, OpenTopography can provide login-restricted access to data, permitting a PI, students, and collaborators to utilize OpenTopography in their research without initially sharing the data openly. All datasets receive a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to support data publication and citation and academic data reuse. Datasets in OpenTopography are also highly discoverable thanks to incorporation of FAIR compliant tools and methodologies (ISO 19115 metadata standard,, OGC CSW).

Community Data Space:

Users who have produced small-sized (less than 10Gb total size) topographic datasets (with technologies such as lidar or photogrammetry) for science applications can make their data accessible for reuse with OpenTopography via a simple drag and drop user interface. These datasets also receive DOIs and are widely discoverable from OpenTopography via FAIR compliant tools and methodologies.


The OpenTopography team is able to provide consultations on data specifications, deliverables, request for proposals (RFP) design, and other issues that contribute to ensuring research quality data. We can also consult about working with high resolution topography data using Big Data and Data Science tools for a range of science applications that go beyond our publicly available on-demand tools.

High resolution topography data training:

OpenTopography is available to run short courses and training in the basics of lidar and structure-from-motion technology, data management and processing, and Earth science-oriented data analysis approaches. OpenTopography has run a number of these courses in the past years (see our Workshops page for more information), providing hands-on training to hundreds of Earth scientists. We are always seeking new collaborative opportunities for future courses. Examples of available short courses include:

  • Lidar topics: Lidar technology and data, tools for processing and visualizing data using LAStools, GDAL, QGIS, Potree, and topographic differencing
  • Structure-from-motion: Introduction to SfM, data processing with sample datasets, survey design, and FAA regulations
  • Other topics by request. Past topics include: detecting landslides, estimating snow depth, mapping paleo-shorelines

Project collaboration:

OpenTopography has built a strong cyberinfrastructure framework for managing and processing large high-resolution topography datasets. We are always excited to pursue new research and development activities that leverage both our existing infrastructure as well as lidar data expertise.

For services for government agencies and commercial organizations, please visit our commercial partnerships page.


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