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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

ASTER expands earth coverage to 99%

July 8th, 2009 by Susan Smith

What caught the attention of our readers the last week of June was the announcement that NASA and Japan released the most complete topographic map of the earth. My sense is that since the topographic map can and will be used by so many professionals in so many industries – energy exploration, natural resources, engineering, environmental, firefighting, city planning, local and state governments – it has gained the attention of so many.

Further, the data set, which was developed by NASA and the Japanese  Ministry of Trade, Economy and Industry, was created using the Japanese Airborne Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument aboard Terra, which gathered 1.3 million individual stereo pair images that is available to users without charge. Prior to this topographic map, the most comprehensive publicly available topographic data set was provided by NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission.

The new DEM picks up areas that haven’t been modeled before, such as some deserts and steep mountainous terrains.

It will be interesting to see what products will be derived from this extensive data set.

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