Acknowledgement and Citation Policy

OpenTopography hosts datasets collected by many research, governmental, and non-profit organizations funded by a variety of sources. The data user bears sole responsibility for recognizing the role of the data provider through co-authorship, citation, sponsor acknowledgment, and/or attribution, as appropriate and consistent with professional standards and sponsor requirements. To facilitate this responsibility of the user, OpenTopography provides license information, as well as citation and acknowledgment language and examples (below). Data license, citation, and acknowledgment infromation may be found on a dataset's access page and through a dataset's metadata. OpenTopography provides a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for each hosted dataset as a means to facilitate data citation.
Questions may be directed to

Data Licensing & Copyright

Most of the data held by OpenTopography are government-funded and in the public domain. Data obtained from OpenTopography are free of all copyright restrictions and made fully and freely available for both non-commercial and commercial uses. Certain datasets may have open data licenses (e.g., Creative Common CC BY 4.0) associated with them. Users of the data are responsible for license compliance and should attribute the source of the data as well as OpenTopography for providing access to those data.

Citing OpenTopography Hosted Data

As a condition of use, you must cite the use of OpenTopography data in your work with a formal citation. A citation acknowledges our data contributors, and allows us to track the use and impact of our data and service. It also helps us report data distribution activity to funding agencies, and to assist others who may contact us about data that are referenced in publications. OpenTopography makes it easy to cite data. Dataset citations for hosted data and global data are listed on the dataset landing page and on the job results page after processing a job.
We generally follow the citation schema standard set by DataCite which defines a citation approach around Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs). OT provides a DOI for each hosted dataset as a means to facilitate data citation. Inclusion of the dataset’s DOI in users’ data citation ensures that the dataset can be accessed and reused, data impact can be tracked, and that data producers and collectors are recognized. Data sources should be cited in the References section of users’ publications.


High Resolution Topographic Data

For high resolution topographic datasets hosted by OpenTopography, citations follow this scheme:
Author/Organization (PublicationYear). Title, Version. Collector, Distributor. Identifier. Date Accessed.
in which:
Author is the PI whose intellectual work led to the creation of the dataset, identified in the Collection Overview in the metadata. Alternatively, for datasets collected by an organization without an identified PI, the Organization that provided the intellectual lead and funding for the creation of the dataset is used.
PublicationYear is the year the present version of the dataset was first released, identified in the OT Collection Name in the metadata.
Title is a combination of [OT Collection Name] and [Collection Platform], found in the metadata. Some customization may occur, depending on the OT Collection Name.
Version is the version of the dataset and only applies to versions greater than 1 (usually applies to raster products, see below) and may be found in the metadata.
Collector is the organization which funded, acquired and processed the raw lidar data led by the PI, found in the Dataset Acknowledgment of the metadata.
Distributor is OpenTopography.
Identifier is the DOI, found on the dataset landing page(s).
For example, the dataset Lidar Survey of the San Pedro River, AZ 2021 would be cited as:
McMahon, C. (2022). Lidar Survey of the San Pedro River, AZ 2021. National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM). Distributed by OpenTopography. Accessed: 2022-11-18.
The in-text citation would be McMahon (2022).
The exact citation for each dataset is provided on the dataset landing page as well as on the job results page after processing a job.




Additional examples of citations are:
Kaikōura, Canterbury, New Zealand 2016
GNS Science, Environment Canterbury Regional Council, Marlborough District Council, Kaikōura District Council, Hurunui District Council, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Earthquake Commission, Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) (2022). Kaikōura, Canterbury, New Zealand 2016. Collected by AAM, distributed by OpenTopography and LINZ. Accessed: 2022-11-18.
In-text citation: GNS Science et al. (2022)
U.S. Forest Service Region 5 Remote Sensing Lab Information Management Staff. (2022). USFS Dinkey Creek Lidar, CA 2012. Collected by Watershed Sciences, Inc. Distributed by OpenTopography. Accessed: 2022-11-18.
In-text citation: U.S. Forest Service (2022)
Datasets hosted on the Community Dataspace are also given a DOI, and the specific dataset citation is included on the dataset landing page.
For example, the dataset Surveys of Kura Frontal Thrust, Azerbaijan, 2022 would be cited as:
Pierce, I. (2022). Surveys of Kura Frontal Thrust, Azerbaijan, 2022. Distributed by OpenTopography. Accessed: 2022-11-18.
The in-text citation would be Pierce (2022).

Global Data

When citing regional or global topographic data accessed through OpenTopography, a similar scheme is used.
For example, if citing Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) global data accessed through OpenTopography, the citation is:
NASA Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) (2013). Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) Global. Distributed by OpenTopography. Accessed: 2022-11-18.
The in-text citation would be NASA Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (2013).
For citing ALOS World 3D accessed through OpenTopography, the citation is:
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (2021). ALOS World 3D 30 meter DEM. V3.2, Jan 2021. Distributed by OpenTopography. Accessed: 2022-11-18.
The in-text citation would be Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (2021).
As with high resolution topographic data, the citations for all regional and global datasets accessed through OpenTopography are shown on the dataset landing page and on the job results page.


For citing U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) data accessed through OpenTopography, a slightly different scheme is used, as these datasets currently do not have DOIs associated with them. Rather than a DOI, the portal website URL is used.
Author [U.S. Geological Survey] (PublicationYear). Title, Version. Collector, Distributor. Identifier [portal URL]. Date accessed.
For example, the USGS 3DEP dataset FL Peninsular FDEM Sarasota 2018 would be cited as:
U.S. Geological Survey (2021). FL Peninsular FDEM Sarasota 2018. Distributed by OpenTopography., last accessed 2022-11-18.
The in-text citation would be U.S. Geological Survey (2021).
USGS 3DEP datasets do not have individual landing pages on OpenTopography, and these citations must be manually compiled by the user. The job portal page indicates the name of the dataset and its publication date. These datasets are the only instance where the portal URL should be used instead of a DOI.

Acknowledging OpenTopography and Hosted Data

NSF policy stipulates grantee responsibility for assuring acknowledgment of material based on or developed with NSF support in any publication, including web pages. In addition, NSF requires oral acknowledgment during all news media interviews. In some cases, the grants or funding sources of OpenTopography community members or other data providers must also be cited or the disclaimer is also required. Users' acknowledgments of OpenTopography also provides a measure of OpenTopography's success and will help to ensure continued funding.
OT kindly requests users of our hosted datasets or OpenTopography services and resources provide the following acknowledgment:
This work is based on [data, processing] services provided by the OpenTopography Facility with support from the National Science Foundation under NSF Award Numbers 1948997, 1948994 & 1948857.
Individual datasets may have their own acknowledgment attributions, provided by the data provider. Please check the datasets’ metadata for guidance.