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Airbus Launches WorldDEM Digital Terrain Model

April 15, 2015  - By

Airbus Defence and Space has launched its WorldDEM Digital Terrain Model (DTM), a highly accurate standardized representation of bare Earth elevation that can be made available for any point on the globe. This addition completes the WorldDEM portfolio, enabling Airbus Defence and Space to provide both surface and terrain elevation information in support of global customer projects.

WorldDEM DTM can be delivered for more than 90 Million km² of the Earth’s landmass.

The WorldDEM DTM is derived from the WorldDEM product (Digital Surface Model) by removing all man-made features and vegetation. The quality of the original WorldDEM product combined with a sophisticated editing process guarantees highly precise and consistent terrain information, Airbus said. While surface features (such as built-up areas and vegetation) are reliably removed, characteristic terrain features such as ridge lines or mountain crests are preserved.


The WorldDEM DTM provides an excellent foundation layer for a wide range of applications such as civil engineering (road design, earthwork calculation), the management of natural resources (such as flood modeling), mapping (such as derivation of contour lines) as well as military mission planning (vehicle trafficability analysis, 3D terrain visualization).

 WorldDEM is based on data acquired by the high-resolution radar satellites TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X, which started synchronous data acquisition in December 2010 and completed coverage of the Earth’s entire landmass twice over in mid-2013. The satellites covered more complex terrain areas with a third and fourth acquisition campaign to ensure consistent high quality and accuracy of the final product. WorldDEM provides the first global, single-source, high-precision Digital Surface Model and has established a new standard of global elevation models.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.