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Posted on March 9th, 2012

Product Specifications of DigitalGlobe’s Global Elevation Data

Following up on last month’s piece about DigitalGlobe’s Advanced Elevation Series (AES), we continue this discussion with a look at the key product specifications and minimum orders. As a brief recap of this product, DigitalGlobe’s AES is a suite of elevation data products that are reasonably priced with global coverage. By utilizing existing archive coverage and their constellation of 50-cm WorldView satellites, DigitalGlobe is able to offer an industry first: global elevation data delivered in reasonable time frames at competitive market prices.

There are three basic product offerings within the AES: Mapping, Precision and Very High Precision elevation data. The three products are differentiated by their resolution and accuracy – this information is summarized in the table below. For each of the products, DigitalGlobe offers both a Digital Surface Model (DSM) which include human-made and natural features (such as trees, bushes and buildings); and a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) with these features removed. Other important specifications include:

  • Minimum Order Size
    • 100 square kilometers
  • Geographic Coverage
    • Global
    • Price lifts do exist for some Asian countries
  • Cloud Cover
    • 5% or less
    • Cloudy pixels in final product are identified with an Esri polygon shapefile
  • Data Sharing
    • Data can be shared with up to 5 end users for no additional charge
    • Uplifts can be applied to accommodate more end users

A summary Table of Key AES Product Specifications

In last month’s piece on the DigitalGlobe’s AES, we compared a sample of the Mapping product to several free elevation data sources that can be found online. This month, we compare two Very High Precision products created over Dunedin, New Zealand, one a DSM and the other a DTM. DSMs are commonly used in line of sight and watershed analysis as they include human and natural features; while DTMs are commonly used in orthorectification where a ‘true’ model of Earth’s surface is crucial for improved horizontal accuracy. In the animation below, we start with a DSM and then transition to a DTM using the same color ramp with low elevations in red and higher ones in green.

An animated comparison of 2-meter Very High Precision DigitalGlobe elevation models created over Dunedin, New Zealand; the first image is a DSM and the second is a DTM. (Data Source: DigitalGlobe) Please click the image above to see the animation.

With pricing to meet different budget requirements and global coverage, DigitalGlobe’s AES elevation suite is the ideal solution for:

  • Regional studies which require an analysis of elevation.
  • Academics in need of a reasonably-priced solution to replace dated and low resolution public sources.
  • Engineers looking to replace costly field labor in distant lands.
  • More accurate orthorectification, particularly in areas of high topographic change.

If you would like more information about the global AES offering by DigitalGlobe, you can send requests to or call us at (720) 720-7988.

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