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I keep seeing references to SRTM, such as in the Elevation Maps question. What is a good summary of what is SRTM, what are the alternatives and how do I start with using it?

asked 08 Feb '12, 17:53

Richard%20Weait's gravatar image

Richard Weait
accept rate: 17%

Shuttle Radar Topography Mission was a mission that flew in February 2000 on board the space shuttle Endeavour. The result of this mission is a digital elevation map that covers from 56° S to 60° N in 30m accuracy. All this data is avalable on a USGS server in PD.

The licence is fully compatible with any other licence including CC-BY-SA and ODbL and it is possible to use SRTM data and OSM data together. However you should not import SRTM to OSM. OSM is not a place to save raster data. SRTM is often used to make contours or reliefs to maps, altitude profiles or to help in routing.

More information about the data format and tools to work with it can be found at the wiki

Other options for DEM data are ASTER or

ASTER have more coverage then SRTM but have a "research" licence that is not compatible with a comercial licence like OSM have. You are however allowed to use it in research or in humanitarian aid if you seperate the datasets, or if you claim necessity. have coverage in the areas where SRTM does not have good enough data. It claims to be PD, however it is based on many data sources including russian maps with unknown copyright status. Care should be taken when using theese maps as you could get sued if someone with a legitimate claim to theese maps wishes to do so.

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answered 08 Feb '12, 18:41

Gnonthgol's gravatar image

Gnonthgol ♦
accept rate: 16%

There are some other sources of elevation data for specific countries, available under a free licence, which may be more useful than SRTM. This includes:

This data is provided in a variety of formats, so would need to be converted into something suitable for using with OSM data. There might be some tutorials for how to do this.

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answered 09 Feb '12, 00:42

Vclaw's gravatar image

accept rate: 22%

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question asked: 08 Feb '12, 17:53

question was seen: 6,685 times

last updated: 09 Feb '12, 00:42

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum