Contour elevation map of the USA

Contour Elevation Map of the US

This contour map shows the topography of the continuous United States of America. Hover over the map to highlight the contour and see the eleveation in meters. For more information scroll down.


I made a Bathymetry map a while ago. Ever since, I have wanted to make a similar map of elevations. I definitely wanted to make it with D3.js. Initially I had a hard time finding shapefiles of contours, and I did not find many examples online. Eventually I found the shapefiles for the US and came up with this map. My first attempts where very colorful and vivid. I wanted something more tame, but after several trials this was my best result. It is not the best because of the beautiful colors, but because it manages to show features, that were not visible with other color combinations.

The Gulf Coast is a bit disappointing to look at. But that is where the disappointment ends. Mountain ranges like the Rockies and the Smokies show features I did not notice before. It is quite interesting to see a glimpse of the Mississippi River and the Saint Lawrence River through this topographic map. My major surprise was the Snake River Plain in Idaho. It is a feature I did not know and now I feel compelled to highlight. Hopefully someday, go visit.


To my surprise elevations were provided in meters not in feet. Also 1-10m is not included. The lowest elevation is 50m. This is why Florida and other coastal states are mainly white. The countour shapefiles were downloaded from USGS Science Base Science Catalogue. The States shapefiles are from Natural Earth. The code was modified from my World Bathymetry Map.

Explore the elevations and contours, they are worth your time!

Made by Luz K. Molina with D3.js.