The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM) was developed jointly by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI).
ASTER is capable of collecting in-track stereo using nadir- and aft-looking near infrared cameras. Since 2001, these stereo pairs have been used to produce single-scene (60- x 60-kilomenter (km)) digital elevation models (DEM) having vertical (root-mean-squared-error) accuracies generally between 10- and 25-meters (m).
The methodology used by Japan's Sensor Information Laboratory Corporation (SILC) to produce the ASTER GDEM involves automated processing of the entire ASTER Level-1A archive. Stereo-correlation is used to produce over one million individual scene-based ASTER DEMs, to which cloud masking is applied to remove cloudy pixels. All cloud-screened DEMS are stacked and residual bad values and outliers are removed. Selected data are averaged to create final pixel values, and residual anomalies are corrected before partitioning the data into 1 degree (°) x 1° tiles.
The ASTER GDEM covers land surfaces between 83°N and 83°S and is comprised of 22,702 tiles. Tiles that contain at least 0.01% land area are included. The ASTER GDEM is distributed as Geographic Tagged Image File Format (GeoTIFF) files with geographic coordinates (latitude, longitude). The data are posted on a 1 arc-second (approximately 30–m at the equator) grid and referenced to the 1984 World Geodetic System (WGS84)/ 1996 Earth Gravitational Model (EGM96) geoid.
While the ASTER GDEM 2 benefits from substantial improvements over GDEM 1, users are nonetheless advised that the products still may contain anomalies and artifacts that will reduce its usability for certain applications, because they can introduce large elevation errors on local scales. The data are provided “as is” and neither NASA nor METI/ERSDAC will be responsible for any damages resulting from use of the data.
The generation and basic characteristics of the ASTER GDEM were summarized in a presentation by Tetsushi Tachikawa, et al., at the 2011 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS).
|Tile Size||3601 x 3601 (1 degree by 1 degree)|
|Pixel Size||1 arc-second|
|Geographic coordinates||Geographic latitude and longitude|
|DEM output format||GeoTIFF, signed 16 bits in units of vertical meters|
|Special DN values||-9999 for void pixels, and 0 for sea water body|
|Tile volume||25 MB uncompressed, 4–5 MB compressed|
|Coverage||North 83 degrees to south 83 degrees, 22,702 tiles|
|Data Fields||Units||Data Type||Valid Range||Fill Value|
|Elevation (“.dem”)||Meters||16-bit signed integer||
(0 at sea level)
|QA (“.num”)||None||16-bit signed integer||0–200||
-1 SRTM3 V3
-2 SRTM3 V2
-11 Alaska DEM
Please find the current ASTER-related Data policies on the ASTER Policies page at https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/products/aster_policies.
For information on how to cite LP DAAC data, please see our Data Citations page at https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/about/citing_lp_daac_and_data.
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