Bestest Ever TopoMap Of Earth Released

Central Pyrenees (NASA, ASTER, Terra, 08/01/00)

Image by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center via Flickr

Best-Ever Topographic Map of Earth Released

By OurAmazingPlanet Staff

The most complete digital topographic ever made of the Earth was released by NASA today (Oct. 17).

The map, known as a global digital elevation model, was created from images collected by the Japanese Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, or ASTER, instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite.

The 3-D effect is achieved by merging two slightly offset two-dimensional images (called stereo-pair images) to create depth.

The first version of the map was released by NASA and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in June 2009.

“The ASTER global digital elevation model was already the most complete, consistent global topographic map in the world,” said Woody Turner, ASTER program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “With these enhancements, its resolution is in many respects comparable to the U.S. data from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, while covering more of the globe.”

The ASTER data cover 99 percent of Earth’s landmass and span from 83 degrees north latitude to 83 degrees south.

The improved version of the map adds 260,000 additional stereo-pair images to improve coverage. It features improved spatial resolution, increased horizontal and vertical accuracy, more realistic coverage over water bodies and the ability to identify lakes as small as 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) in diameter. The map is available online to users everywhere at no cost.

“These data can be used for a broad range of applications, from planning highways and protecting lands with cultural or environmental significance, to searching for natural resources,” said Mike Abrams, ASTER science team leader at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

This story was provided by OurAmazingPlanet, sister site to

Related Info: Get Data from the USGS


All LP DAAC data holdings available. Search and order earth science data from all NASA data centers. More InformationLaunch REVERB


USGS Earth Explorer (EE)

All LP DAAC MODIS and selected ASTER products are available for search, browse, and direct download: More InformationLaunch EarthExplorer

Earth Explorer Interface

USGS Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis)

All LP DAAC ASTER and selected MODIS data holdings available. Landsat 7 ETM+, Landsat 4/5 TM, Landsat 1-5 MSS, EO-1 ALI, EO-1 Hyperion, MRLC, and Tri-Decadal data sets also available. Browse-based for enhanced visualization. More InformationLaunch GloVis


Global Data Explorer

ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM). Search, Select geographic area of interest or predefined region, Reformat and Download: More InformationLaunch Global Data Explorer

Global Data Explorer Interface

MODIS Reprojection Tool on the Web (MRTWeb)

Selected MODIS Land Product Tiles � Search, Visualize, Select � Mosaicking, Spatial Subsetting, Band Subsetting, Reprojection, Reformatting. More InformationLaunch MRTWeb


LP DAAC Data Pool

Selected LP DAAC ASTER and MODIS data holdings � Direct FTP access � All data are at no charge. More Information

Data Pool


Selected ASTER Scenes. Visually search and download Georeferenced JPEG images.More InformationLaunch TerraLook


NASA Warehouse Inventory Search Tool (WIST)

All LP DAAC data holdings available � Search and order earth science data from all NASA data centers � Replacement for EOSDIS Data Gateway (EDG). More InformationLaunch WIST


Earth Remote Sensing Data Analysis Center (ERSDAC)

Billable ASTER data are available through the ERSDAC located in Japan. Searching and ordering ASTER data from Japan Ground Data System (GDS) IMS: More InformationLaunch GDS IMS


ASTER Tasking

If the desired ASTER data of interest do not exist, there is a procedure to submit a Data Acquisition Request (DAR). If accepted, you are authorized, and provided additional information to help submit a DAR. Additional details are available from the ASTER JPL Web site.

Other Services

Other data access services such as subscription and machine-to-machine may be available to the user. Contact LP DAAC User Services

Which products do we offer?

View our list of MODIS products.

View our list of ASTER products.


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