contour information for UK???

i’m trying to get contour information for various places in the UK (& in portugal & other places too) so that I can create realistic terrains in Blender or some other 3D program.

Does anyone know how to get the contour info out of OpenStreetMaps in a form i can work with? black & white height maps are fine, as are DXF files. not too sure with some files like .asc & .prj but if you tell me it’s possible & it’s just a case of learning QGIS or something i can definitely do that.

the best possible resolution is best. OS 50 isn’t really ideal & i’ve not had luck with LIDAR so far.


OpenStreetMap (no s) doesn’t store contour information. You could download DEMs (Digital Elevation Models) from and then use a tool like gdal_contour to extract the contours.

Also have a look at

in UK Environment Agency Lidar is now Government Open Data.

The search is not at all intuitive and it is hard to find out what data exists where, but coverage is getting better. Try looking for National Data Programme.

DTM files can be downloaded as a raster file and imported into QGIS. The format varies from area to area but is vastly better than the OSM NRSTM default with a resolution of 1m or better, instead of 30m. In QGIS Raster Extraction Contour will create a file at a specifed vertical interval. This can be created in various formats such as .shp or .dxf. QGIS can do hillshading and many other things. One of the advantages of the high resolution is that linear features become visible at small contour intervals so this could be used to improve accuracy. Not sure if there would be any restrictions on the use of the data in OSM if it was possible to override NRSTM.