We assess the accuracy and precision of the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Support Office for Aerogeophysical Research (SOAR) laser profiling system for mapping topography and detecting surface elevation changes of West Antarctic ice streams. The procedures used to process, calibrate and validate the laser, navigation and global positioning system (GPS) data are presented. The primary objective is to produce surface elevations with the best possible resolution. Repeat surveys of a grid of lines over Whillans Ice Stream and Ice Streams C and E were conducted in the 1997/98 and 1999/2000 seasons. The procedure has been calibrated using special test flights conducted over areas that have been surveyed with precise geodetic GPS equipment mounted on snow-mobiles. After calibration, agreement between the two surfaces is ±10 cm rms. The accuracy and precision of the procedure have been evaluated at points where laser flight-lines cross over one another. The accuracy of the system is found to range from 0.09 to 0.22 m.