How to Create Contours in QGIS from a DEM:

  1. Download DEM file
  2. Open the DEM in QGIS
  3. Run the contours process

Step 1

Download DEM File

Note: In this example, we use a DEM exported from Equator.

1. Visit Equator Studios and go to the Data Menu

2. Select Digital Elevation Model from the left-hand Data menu

3. Select a site where you would like to get a DEM by clicking the + button

4. Click ‘Generate’

5. Once your DEM appears in the Layers Menu, click the Download button on the layer to download it

Download DEM in Equator

Image of our DEM in Equator

Step 2

Open the DEM in QGIS

Open your DEM shapefile in QGIS by dragging and dropping the file into the map space.

Equator DEM in QGIS

Image of our DEM in QGIS

Step 3

Run The Contour Process

Now that we have projected our DEM onto our project, we will run the Contour process:

Processing Toolbox → GDAL → Raster extraction Contour

Set the input layer as your DEM, and adjust the other input settings as you deem appropriate (in this case we elected to leave the default settings):

Contours from Equator DEM

Using the Contour process to generate the final layer


You now have a layer with contours built from your DEM!

We hope this helps. Take a look at some of Equator’s other blogs and “How-to tutorials”!

Contours from Equator DEM