Traditional imagery—be it satellite, aerial or UAV—provides valuable information about on-ground conditions. But the world is a three-dimensional place, and 2D imagery only shows part of the picture. We need elevation models to make these images real—and that’s where DEMs come in.
What is a DEM? It’s a Digital Elevation Model—a model of the Earth’s terrain in a digital format. A DEM is made up of gridded elevation values that, when mapped out, generate the shape of a location on the Earth’s surface. DEMs can be created from LIDAR, radar or optical stereo imagery.
DEMs do more than improve the accuracy of satellite imagery. They bring your area of interest (AOI) to life by allowing you to measure and analyze your project in 3D—giving you a more complete picture you can really trust. DEMs come in various flavors depending on customer needs:
- Digital surface models (DSMs) include buildings, trees and more. DSMs help with applications like line-of-sight analysis and signal propagation.
- Digital terrain models (DTMs) show only the ‘bare earth’ terrain. DTMs provide more precise results for flood models, excavation calculations, contours and orthorectification.
- Point cloud is a format that works with existing LIDAR workflows, allowing for easy editing and attribution of data.
- Vricon 3D is a fully textured 3D model that provides a truly lifelike view of the world.
Watch our video to learn more about the different DEMs out there.
At DigitalGlobe, we have been offering DEMs and other elevation products for the last decade. With an unmatched imagery library and superior processing speed, resolution and accuracy, our elevation products are industry leading.
DigitalGlobe’s goal is to be your one-stop shop for geospatial needs, and our high-accuracy global elevation products bring us one step closer to being that indispensable source.
But don’t take our word for it. See for yourself by downloading a DEM sample.