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U.S. Releases Enhanced Shuttle Land Elevation Data


On September 23, 2014, the White House announced that the highest-resolution topographic data generated from NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) in 2000 was to be released globally by late 2015. The announcement was made at the United Nations Heads of State Climate Summit in New York. Since then the schedule was accelerated, and all global SRTM data have been released.

See the full JPL Release 2014-321.

Previously, SRTM data for regions outside the United States were sampled for public release at 3 arc-seconds, which is 1/1200th of a degree of latitude and longitude, or about 90 meters (295 feet). The new data have been released with a 1 arc-second, or about 30 meters (98 feet), sampling that reveals the full resolution of the original measurements.

See an index map of the newly available full-resolution data. (SRTM did not produce data for the northernmost latitudes or Antarctica.)

The new data are available for download from the USGS EROS Data Center - see Public Data Distribution for details.

See the Africa image above and its caption at the PIA04965. A fly around video of the Crater Highlands of Tanzania, using SRTM elevation data and Landsat images is available at

These additional fly around videos further illustrate SRTM elevation data:

India and the Himalaya Mountains, with Landsat satellite images draped over SRTM elevation data. View the full size movie here.
A smaller version can be viewed here.

Indonesia, with many volcanoes, starting at Bali, flying westward over Java, and ending at Krakatoa (Pulau Krakatau). This fly around uses only SRTM data, shaded and with colored height. View the movie here.

Below, shaded relief images of deeply eroded volcanic terrain in northeast Tanzania demonstrate the improved nature of the highest-resolution SRTM data now being released. The image at left has data samples spaced every 90 meters (295 feet); the image at right has samples spaced every 30 meters (98 feet).

SRTM data samples of Tanzania
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
Click on the image for a detailed comparison, including an animation

Void-Filled "SRTM Plus" Released (SRTM NASA V3)

NASA has released a void-filled version of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission digital elevation model, known as "SRTM Plus" or SRTM NASA Version 3. SRTM Plus uses SRTM Version 2 (see below) where the radar interferometric method was successful (not void). Most voids are filled with elevation data from the ASTER GDEM2 (Global Digital Elevation Model Version 2). ASTER is a sensor on NASA's Terra satellite that uses stereoscopic imaging to measure elevations via optical parallax where not obscured by clouds. Additional void filling of small areas used the GMTED2010 elevation model compiled by the US Geological Survey. SRTM Plus was produced under NASA's "Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments" (MEaSUREs) Program.

SRTM Plus elevation models and related products are available from NASA's Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LPDAAC) at:

NASADEM: What's Next with SRTM

Engineers and scientists at JPL are currently working on a complete reprocessing of the original SRTM radar data in order to produce an improved near-global digital elevation model (DEM) to be called NASADEM. As with SRTM Plus, this work is funded under NASA's "Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments" (MEaSUREs) Program. In brief, the expected improvements include (1) fine vertical adjustments within and among individual shuttle data takes via reference to precise ICESat (Ice, Cloud, and land satellite) laser profiles, (2) void reduction via improved radar interferometric processing, (3) use of better fill data in the remaining voids, especially ASTER GDEM3 when available, and (4) improved quality assessments and adjustments. This project is scheduled for completion in 2017, but we expect to release interim products in 2016 and early 2017.

SRTM Publication

An edited version of "The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, Rev. Geophys., 45, RG2004, doi:10.1029/2005RG000183" was recently released. See the SRTM Bibliography for further information.

SRTM Accuracy Report

JPL has released the full SRTM accuracy report. It's available in the SRTM Bibliography. A condensed version was published in the March 2006 issue of Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, which is devoted to SRTM. It can be accessed (as "SRTM-4" within that issue) at:

SRTM V2 Released

NASA has released version 2 of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission digital topographic data (also known as the "finished" version). Version 2 is the result of a substantial editing effort by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and exhibits well-defined water bodies and coastlines and the absence of spikes and wells (single pixel errors), although some areas of missing data ('voids') are still present. The Version 2 directory also contains the vector coastline mask derived by NGA during the editing, called the SRTM Water Body Data (SWBD), in ESRI Shapefile format.

The data may be obtained through this URL: and go to the directory where both version 1 and version 2 directories may be found. Please read the appropriate documentation, also found in the directories.