Wednesday 1 July 2009


On Monday 29th of June of 2009, NASA and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, released the Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM) created from Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data. That has involved the processing of more than a million ASTER scenes, in order to cover Earth’s land surface between 83 degrees North and 83 degrees South.

The result is a 30-m resolution digital elevation model available from the following URL: ASTER GDEM . In this website the GDEM can be downloaded selecting by tiles, by polygon, by shapefile and of course, by coordinates.

So far the standard DEM was the SRTM data, obtained during a flight of the Space Shuttle in 2000. Its resolution is approximately 90 m (30 for USA), and has proven to be a very valuable resource in structural geology, hydrocarbon exploration, geohazard analyses, etc. GDEM will predictably become a new standard, with a commercial resolution and global availability.


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