A U.S. and Japanese spacecraft collaboration has produced an enhanced global digital topographic map that spans 99% of the Earth’s surface for use in remote-sensing applications ranging from the identification of natural resources to the protection of regions with environmental or cultural significance.
The high-resolution topographic map was produced using data gathered from’s Terra spacecraft and the Japanese Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, one of five onboard instruments.
Publicly available at https://lpdaac.usgs.gov or http://www.ersdac.or.jp/GDEM/E/1.html, the new data set adds 260,000 additional stereo-pair images to the original version of the map released by and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in mid-2009, according to NASA’s .
The data will go to the Group on Earth Observations, an arm of the World Meteorological Organization that is integrating data from multiple spacecraft instruments to monitor and forecast global environmental change.
Terra, launched from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., in 1999, as NASA’s Earth Observing System flagship, orbits with a 98.2-deg. inclination, enough to establish elevation measurements every 30 meters (98 ft.) between 83 deg. N. and S. Lat.