High-Resolution Arctic Digital Elevation Model Mosaics

Oct 22, 2013

Paul Morin, Director of the Polar Geospatial Center at University of Minnesota wrote to let us know about the availability of new high-resolution (2 meter) digital elevation models for parts of the Arctic. The data are photogrammetrically derived from DigitalGlobe WorldView-1 and 2 satellite imagery. Details:

Announcing Open Distribution of High-resolution Arctic Digital Elevation Model Mosaics

The Polar Geospatial Center, in collaboration with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, are now distributing seamless, 2-meter resolution Digital Elevation Model mosaics of polar regions constructed using SETSM software developed at the Ohio State University and imagery from DigitalGlobe Inc.'s WorldView-1 and 2 satellites provided by the NGA Commercial Imagery Program. The DEMs are distributed (http://www.pgc.umn.edu/elevation/stereo/) in GeoTIFF format as 25 km x 25 km geographic tiles and are browsed and downloaded via a web interface (http://www.pgc.umn.edu/elevation/stereo/setsm). Each DEM is accompanied with grids providing, for each pixel, the image acquisition day and an interpolated data mask. The data are downloadable at no cost following registration and use agreement. Currently, data are available for portions of the North Slope of Alaska and West Greenland. In the coming months, a release will be available providing broader geographic coverage, temporal data, and a robust user interface including programmatic access. A gallery (http://www.pgc.umn.edu/elevation/stereo/gallery) of shaded relief images of the DEMs is available for viewing without registration (http://www.pgc.umn.edu/elevation/stereo/gallery). Data update announcements will be sent to registered users.

Why is this data being distributed?
The purpose of these data is to serve as a proof-of-concept for the automatic generation of high-resolution DEMs over large, remote areas. More data will be added to the archive as it is acquired and produced, with the ultimate goal of complete topographic coverage for the Arctic and Antarctic. This initial dataset was produced under NASA award NNX10AN61G to BPRC and PGC as part of the Rapid Ice Sheet Change Observatory (http://www.rapidice.org/viewer/) (RISCO) and distributed under NSF Cooperative Agreement ANT-1043681.

What is SETSM?
The SETSM, or Surface Extraction with TIN-based Search space Minimization (http://www.pgc.umn.edu/system/files/SETSM_Product_Sheet_v1.1.pdf), software was produced specifically for fully-automated terrain processing of large amounts of sub-meter commercial imagery. The software is still under development and testing and is not currently available for general distribution. Please email Dr. Myoung-Jong Noh (ngnmj77@gmail.com) with any questions about DEM processing.

What other elevation data products are available from the PGC?
The PGC currently distributes LiDAR data for the McMurdo Dry Valley region of Antarctica and will be providing other datasets at http://www.pgc.umn.edu/elevation/ as they become available.


BPRC Team: Myoung-Jong Noh and Ian Howat
PGC Team: Brad Herried, Claire Porter and Paul Morin

Greenland Ice Sheet, Outlet Glaciers - image from Polar Geospatial Center, UMN