GLAS/ICESat L1B Global Elevation Data (HDF5), Version 34
Data set id:
This is the most recent version of these data.
Release 34 incorporates fixes for several data issues that were determined to exist in the GLAS Release 33 data products.
GLAH06 Level-1B Global Elevation is a product that is analogous to the geodetic data records distributed for radar altimetry missions. It contains elevations previously corrected for tides, atmospheric delays, and surface characteristics within the footprint. Elevation is calculated using the ice sheet parameterization. Additional information allows the user to calculate an elevation based on land, sea ice, or ocean algorithms. Each data granule has an associated browse product.
GLACIER ELEVATION/ICE SHEET ELEVATIONGLACIER TOPOGRAPHY/ICE SHEET TOPOGRAPHYICE ROUGHNESSICE SHEETSREFLECTANCESEA SURFACE HEIGHTSEA SURFACE SLOPESURFACE ROUGHNESSTERRAIN ELEVATION
ALTIMETERS, CD, GLAS, GPS, GPS Receiver, LA, PC
20 February 2003 to 11 October 2009
60 m to 70 m
60 m to 70 m
Spatial Reference System(s):
Blue outlined yellow areas on the map below indicate the spatial coverage for this data set.
Data Access & Tools
Product Specification Documents
General Questions & FAQs
The ICESat/GLAS elevation data are relative to the ellipsoid. The data also have a parameter indicating the geoid height, which is the height of the EGM2008 geoid above the TOPEX/Poseidon ellipsoid for the first and last shot in the record:
This article covers frequently asked questions about the NASA NSIDC DAAC's Earthdata cloud migration project and what it means to data users.
Analysis of altimetric data acquired by the GLAS instrument requires accurate determination of the laser spot location on the Earth's surface (ice, land, water, clouds) or geolocation of the laser spot.
Yes, it is an element of GLAH06, GLAH12, GLAH13, GLAH14, and GLAH15.
This short article describes the customization services available for ICESat/GLAS data using Earthdata Search
Surface roughness greatly affects the elevation measurement accuracy. Over most of the ice sheets, the accuracy of each elevation measurement is 15 cm.
What is the basic difference between a standard and alternate waveform fit and when would you normally choose one over the other?
The standard waveform fit is optimized for "ice sheet-like" returns. The majority of these are single-peaked, narrow waveforms. The standard fit allows for only two peaks. Alternate waveform fitting is meant to capture up to six peaks.
Several parameters help quantify the shape of the GLAS laser footprint, which change slightly for each campaign. These parameters are:
How to Articles
Many NSIDC DAAC data sets can be accessed using the NSIDC DAAC's Data Access Tool. This tool provides the ability to search and filter data with spatial and temporal constraints using a map-based interface. Users have the option to
To convert HDF5 files into binary format you will need to use the h5dump utility, which is part of the HDF5 distribution available from the HDF Group. How you install HDF5 depends on your operating system.
NASA Earthdata Search is a map-based web interface for discovering and ordering data using spatial and temporal filters. This article explains how to search for ICESat/GLAS data based on spatial and temporal constraints.
The instructions below will describe how to extract elevation in text format from GLAS HDF5 Altimetry data using the free open source tool HDFView.
The HDF Group has example code for access and visualization of MODIS, GLAS HDF5, AMSR-E, and NISE data in MATLAB, IDL, Python, and NCL.
Learn the basic steps for using OpenAltimetry to browse and download ICESat data.
This guide will provide an overview of the altimetry measurements and data sets across the missions, as well as a guide for accessing the data through NASA Earthdata Search and programmatically using an Application Programming Interface (API).
The NASA Earthdata Cloud is the NASA cloud-based archive of Earth observations. It is hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Learn how to find and access NSIDC DAAC data directly in the cloud.
All data from the NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC) can be accessed directly from our HTTPS file system, using wget or curl. Basic command line instructions are provided in the article below.
NASA Earthdata Search is a map-based interface where a user can search for Earth science data, filter results based on spatial and temporal constraints, and order data with customizations including re-formatting, re-projecting, and spatial and parameter subsetting.
HDFView https://support.hdfgroup.org/products/java/hdfview/ When you first open HDFView, the HDFView window appears with an empty tree and data panel.