GEO INNOTER is ready to perform the work on creating a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) "turnkey", as well as select and deliver ready-made commercial Digital Elevation Models (DEM) for any area in the world.

A Digital Elevation Model (DEM) is a three-dimensional representation of the Earth's surface, presented as an array of points with defined elevation. The DEM contains information about the true elevation of the terrain, without considering vegetation, buildings, and other anthropogenic objects.

Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) are a type of three-dimensional mathematical models that contain information about the elevation levels of the Earth's surface.

In contrast to DEMs, Digital Surface Models (DSMs) describe all the irregularities of the Earth's surface, including vegetation and anthropogenic objects.

Why is it needed?

With the help of new Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, unlike traditional "paper" maps, it is possible to process the obtained digital data and create a spatially accurate three-dimensional model, also known as a digital elevation model.

A digital elevation model is necessary to obtain highly detailed information about the terrain on any given area, including the creation of digital topographic maps and plans of various scales, conducting surveying works, engineering surveys, geological studies, biological studies, geographical studies, and more.


Purposes and Objectives of Digital elevation models (DEM):

To create a Digital Elevation Model (DEM), a multitude of elevation points, with known geodetic coordinates, are used. The digital model is created solely based on points classified as land relief points. Each elevation is determined using height interpolation rules, ensuring the creation of a detailed digital elevation model with varying elevation point distributions.

The purpose of a digital elevation model is to obtain information about the terrain with a specified accuracy and level of detail for a given area. It serves the following purposes:

  • Visualization of the terrain when creating and updating digital topographic maps and plans of various scales;
  • Compilation of thematic and specialized maps and plans for specific purposes;
  • Hydrodynamic modeling of land inundation;
  • Construction of three-dimensional geological models;
  • Radar (radiolocation) interferometry;
  • Creation of navigational maps with various levels of detail and address information;
  • Production of topographic plans for the design and construction of various objects, including underground and above-ground structures, and for other construction-related tasks;
  • Prediction of landscape processes;
  • Territorial planning;
  • Construction of roads, highways, and intersections;
  • Environmental tasks (including modeling of environmental situations);
  • Study and quantitative assessment of the current state of the natural environment;
  • Execution of land management and cadastral works;
  • Creation of digital terrain models for planning and development of telecommunication networks;
  • Determination of groundwater levels.


Advantages of Remote Sensing Data Usage

Currently, numerous satellites are launched to obtain high-resolution imagery, and technical and software tools have been developed, which GEO "Innoter" utilizes to create DEMs. Satellite data can be obtained more promptly as they may already be available in the operator's archive. Additionally, aerial imagery captured from aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is used. DEMs created from stereo photogrammetric processing of satellite and aerial imagery exhibit high accuracy and informativeness.

Prices for services

Ordering Ready-Made Commercial Digital Elevation Models Created from Satellite Imagery:

Consultation Free of charge

Ordering Ready-Made DEMs (AW3D, WorldDEM, Maxar 3D, NextMAP, VRICON, TanDEM-X, etc.)

  • Cell size from 1 meter;
  • Vertical accuracy up to 1.6 meters (RMS);

Up to 1 meter accuracy (RMS).

Minimum area from 25 km2 Price starting from 2,500 USD
Delivery Time From 5 working days

Creating DEMs:

Consultation Free of charge
Selection of Imagery, Preliminary Analysis Free of charge
Ordering Imagery from 8 to 200 USD per km2 depending on the imagery (archive-new, mono-stereo, resolution)*
Stereo Processing of Remote Sensing Data From 8 USD per km2
Creation of DEMs From 8 USD per km2, calculated individually for each specific order, depending on the volume of processed remote sensing data and the presence/absence of control points
Delivery Time From 5 working days (depending on the volume, complexity category, and availability of archive imagery)

The price of DEMs depends on the cost of ordered imagery and the complexity of the work (including the number of images covering the area of interest, the presence of control points, and the complexity category of the area). The price is calculated individually for each customer.

The cost of execution is calculated on an individual basis, taking into account a specific of task.

After receiving the task description, we calculate the cost and send you a commercial offer.

Period of execution

Technical task coordination: from 1 to 5 days*
Contract signing: from 1 to 5 days
Contract execution: from 5 days**
TOTAL DURATION: from 6 days*

* working days
** from the date of receiving 100% advance payment

The duration of the work depends on the total area, the amount of remote sensing data to be processed, their type, and is calculated individually for each customer.

How to place an order:

  1. STEP 1: Submit an application on the website, providing:
    • Location of the object of interest (coordinates, district name, region, shapefile, etc.);
    • The task for which DEM is required and/or requirements for the vertical accuracy of DEM and spatial resolution of DEM (period for which archival data can be used or the need for new acquisition).
  2. STEP 2: Technical task coordination and cost agreement:
    • DEM creation - the price is negotiated on a case-by-case basis;
    • Image acquisition is billed separately (from 8 to 200 USD per km2 depending on the acquisition type: archival or new, mono or stereo, resolution);
    • Delivered DEM has a minimum area of 25 km2.
  3. STEP 3: Contract signing and commencement of work:
    • Execution time is from 5 working days from the date of receiving 100% advance payment for remote sensing data - only non-cash payment is accepted. The remaining payment is made after the completion of the work;
    • In case of ordering a ready-made DEM, a 100% advance payment is required.

We work with individuals, legal entities, individual entrepreneurs, government and municipal authorities, foreign customers, etc.

Need for consultation?

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Stages of service provision

Stage 0 (Pre-contract stage):

  • Determining the purpose of creating the digital elevation model;
  • Familiarization with the area of interest (size and characteristics of the terrain);
  • Agreement on the accuracy requirements of the product;
  • Preliminary selection and verification of archival images that meet the requirements for creating the product;
  • Planning for new acquisition (if necessary);
  • Checking the availability of ready-made commercial DEMs in the databases of operators and partners;

RESULT: possibility (YES/NO) of providing the service


Stage 1 (Pre-contract stage):

  • If ready-made commercial DEMs are available, agreement on the timeline and cost of the order;
  • If there is a need to create a DEM:
    • Agreement with the customer on the available remote sensing data in the archives of operators;
    • Agreement with the customer on the types of remote sensing data (satellite imagery, aerial photos, UAV/drone imagery, airborne laser scanning) to be used for creating the product;
    • Agreement with the customer (if necessary) on the accuracy requirements, reference points, and other requirements;
    • Agreement on the coordinate system and projection requirements for the final product;
    • Final determination of labor and material costs, agreement on delivery timelines and costs

RESULT: signed contract


Stage 2 (Contract execution):

If ready-made commercial DEMs that meet the customer's goals and tasks are available in the databases of operators and partners, deliveries are carried out according to the standard order fulfillment mechanism.

If there is a need to create a DEM:

  1. Collection and preliminary processing of source materials - depending on the required accuracy and purpose of the DEM, selection and acquisition of remote sensing data, reference points, and map materials are performed; primary processing of images is carried out, including image defect removal, radiometric, geometric, and atmospheric corrections.
  2. Technical design of processing processes.
  3. Photogrammetric processing of source data.
  4. Creation of DEM with the required accuracy, format, and specifications as per customer requirements.

The result of the provision of services

As a result, the customer receives a digital elevation model of the specified type. The most common ways of digitally representing the terrain are:

  • Regular matrix (regular or grid model) of the Earth's surface elevations (represented on a regular grid of squares, rectangles, or triangles, with elevation values assigned to its nodes).
  • Irregular, also known as TIN (Triangulated Irregular Network) model, which includes a set of points with elevation values that have been triangulated, taking into account lines of continuity discontinuity.
  • Vector lines (contour lines or other isolines with equal or unequal intervals); grids (elevation matrix).

DEM can be provided in formats such as:

  • GeoTIFF, Arc/Info ASCII Grid (ASC), Band interlieved (BIL), XYZ, or as tiles in Sputnik KMZ format.
  • TIN model can be provided in formats such as: Wavefront OBJ, 3DS, VRML, COLLADA, Stanford PLY, STL models, Autodesk FBX, AutoCAD DXF, Google Earth KMZ, U3D Universal 3D, Adobe PDF.
  • Contour lines (isopleths) can be provided in formats such as: AutoCAD DXF, ArcGIS SHP, Google KML for irregular grids.

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Lavrov Viktor Nikolaevich
The material was checked by an expert
Lavrov Viktor Nikolaevich

Aerophotogeodesist, work experience 58 years, Education - Moscow Institute of Geodesy, Aerial Survey and Cartography (MIIGAiK)



Even the most inaccessible vast areas of the Earth can now be viewed and modeled through the use of drones. Different types of radars, video cameras and other instruments can be used on drones to collect the required data.
DEM is a digital elevation map, that is, a representation of the Earth's surface. Unlike a DSM, a digital terrain model (DTM) represents the bare surface of the earth without any objects such as plants and buildings.
DTM is a set of methods used to derive or represent a DEM.

Created using modern software and equipment, the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) is a high-precision method for producing cartographic maps or raster representations of the Earth's surface. It consists of a group of coordinates and discrete numbers that determine the locations of buildings, natural features, and other objects, including valleys, rivers, elevations, and more, without considering vegetation on the terrain.

Information about the relief of a specific area is obtained not only through natural measurements but also through remote sensing using unmanned aerial vehicles, which allow for the creation of different types of assignments:

  • with irregularly placed points based on local coordinates, the center of the territory, structural lines, or relief profiles;

  • with regular representation of elevation points on triangular, rectangular, and other grids;

  • with contour assignment, where points are located on contour lines, either considering the complexity of the drawing or evenly distributed.

In the United States, there is another definition for digital elevation models, which are vector datasets consisting of regularly spaced points and natural features such as ridges and fault lines. They complement the height matrix, including linear surface characteristics.

DEM is a pure raster grid, tied to a vertical coordinate system.

  • For calculating slopes and slope exposure, as well as other geometric parameters of the terrain, which is crucial not only for road construction and various types of pipelines but also for proper field planning in agriculture and other industries;
  • For visibility analysis in order to plan communication networks, solve military tasks, or in other industries;
  • As well as for analyzing the illumination of an area and wind patterns;
  • For orthorectification of images;
  • For conducting project surveys and monitoring the dynamics of the terrain;
  • For monitoring and forecasting geological and hydrological processes;
  • For creating flood modeling;
  • Monitoring exogenous processes by comparing multiple DEMs;
  • Building and structure design. It takes into account not only the coordinates of specific points but also the characteristics of the construction site.
Accurately representing the terrain helps reduce risks when solving various tasks and develop measures for the safe use of land.
The main disadvantage of such a relief model is that the location of points on the terrain turns out to be suboptimal, because in some areas you need greater accuracy and, accordingly, a greater number of points, in other areas, on the contrary, the available number of points is excessive
  • Ground surveys;
  • Aerial photogrammetric data collection;
  • Existing cartographic surveys, such as topographic maps;
  • Airborne laser scanning;
  • Stereoscopic or radar satellite imagery.
These data collection methods are compared based on four aspects:
  • Cost;
  • Accuracy;
  • Density of sampling;
  • Pre-processing requirements.
Traditionally, such information was collected by surveyors through ground surveys and subsequent semi-automatic digitization using stereoplotters. This is the most accurate but also the most expensive method of data collection.
Another highly efficient modern method is the airborne and spaceborne interferometric radar system, which is used to obtain precise data about both land cover and terrain.
Currently, UAV aerial imagery is the easiest and cheapest way to conduct large-scale measurements over large areas, surveying for orthophotos and digital terrain models (DTM). In the process of processing dense point cloud data, geodetic engineers acquire elevations of the terrain, thus creating a digital terrain model. The DEM does not include information about the elevations of vegetation, structures, and machinery on the earth's surface. This material is needed by planners for construction planning.
There are many software tools for creating and processing digital elevation model data: from multifunctional GIS, such as Panorama GIS, ArcGIS, QGIS, to narrowly focused programs for visualization and creation of animation using elevation models.
Three-dimensional modeling is currently one of the fastest growing areas of DEM use. The difference between a three-dimensional model and a two-dimensional one is quite obvious: it is possible to visually evaluate terrain features, its variability and other characteristics. To create a three-dimensional model of some terrain, one can use an orthoimage, which is a space image or aerial images with distortions removed, as a result of which the scale of all points is equalized. The prepared orthoimage is as if "stretched" on the surface created by the digital terrain model. After such processing it is possible to get a rather realistic 3D-image. However, this combination of orthoimage and DEM may not always coincide exactly, because some parts of the relief may be modified due to the presence of vegetation, snow or other natural phenomena. Besides, orthoimage usually contains shadows from objects. As a result, the resulting three-dimensional image will depend on the time of year and time of day. To eliminate such effects and to increase the quality of terrain texture, additional processing of orthoimages is required: additional digital filtering and retouching.
Conversion of raster digital elevation models srtm from one format to another in a GIS program is usually not a problem, so a specific format is not necessary, especially since they are often already fixed in the preliminary specifications. Depending on the selected output medium, different ways of displaying terrain surfaces are chosen.
Depending on the set tasks, professional GIS-technologies or specialized GIS-technologies can be used for DEM formation. As a rule, the software product of GIS-technologies is offered in the basic version with the possibility of selecting additional add-ons according to the set task. The basic module contains basic GIS operations: program support of input-output devices, data export and import capabilities and some others. As a rule, the difference between the presented capabilities of software products that implement GIS-technologies does not differ much from one manufacturer to another, since technological developments are usually borrowed from each other quite actively.
The first software package allowing to model relief using a regular elevation model, which found its application and development, was the GRID package, which means grid, mesh, network. It was created in the late 1960s in the Harvard Laboratory of Machine Graphics and Spatial Analysis (USA). This package realized the possibility of multiple input of different layers of raster cells.
A digital terrain model (DTM) and digital elevation model (DEM) is, roughly speaking, a grid where each pixel contains information about plan coordinates and elevation of the surface point it corresponds to. In the course of aerial imagery, the images include not only the ground surface, but also vegetation, buildings and road elements. All these objects (data) also become part of the digital surface reconstructed from the photos. It is like throwing a huge blanket over the terrain, fixing all its curves and lifting it up - so you get a digital terrain model, i.e. a combination of relief and all objects located on it. If you cut off all the objects that are not the earth's surface and build a digital model, you get a DEM.
There are several basic types of data in GIS: points, lines, polygons, surfaces and rasters. The mixing of these data within a single layer is generally unacceptable. Exceptions are data models of the "network" (consisting of nodes connected by arcs) and "coverage" type (like a network, consisting of nodes connected by arcs; in addition, there are regions whose boundaries are defined by arcs).
The fastest and most informative way to obtain rapid spatial data for express planning or visualization. Several factors play an important role for the quality of matrix-derived products: terrain roughness; sampling density; elevation data collection method; grid resolution or pixel size; interpolation algorithm; vertical resolution; and terrain analysis algorithm. Today, modern drones are capable of collecting the necessary data, analyzing it down to the smallest detail, and building a visual layout in a short period of time.

In GIS electronic systems, data from various topographic map collections are still being digitized. The process involves the following steps:

  • Scanning: This process involves scanning the maps while considering the optimal resolution. The resolution is determined based on the needs of the digital terrain model (DTM). Too much detail may not be necessary, as it can result in long loading times and require extensive processing.
  • Alignment and overlay: This step allows for the alignment and seamless merging of all elements of the future model. It also helps to address any discrepancies or errors in the data, such as missing information on one source but present in another.
  • Vectorization: Software is used to automatically mark horizontal lines. Attempting to perform this manually would require a significant amount of time.
  • Raster image interpolation using one of the aforementioned methods. This step transforms the electronic map into a complete digital terrain model (DTM).
The use of information from radar topographic survey, aka Shuttle radar topographic mission, is becoming more and more widespread. The information is conducted from two shuttles, which revolve around the Earth. The whole planet, except for the oceans and the most extreme (southern and northern) latitudes, is captured by radar sensors. The data have some longevity, they have been offered in the public domain since 2005. The whole network has a three-second step, they are just taken as points for the construction of the DEM. Only on the territory of America the step is 1 second, it is caused by the fact that the shuttle and the whole program belong to the USA.

TIN (Triangulated Irregular Network) is a representation of terrain that consists of connected triangles. Each edge of a triangle is part of a neighboring triangle. The vertices of the triangles are coordinate points with known values. They are connected using Delaunay triangulation, where circles are drawn through the vertices and edges are placed along the intersecting points of the circles.

GRID - The literal translation from English is "grid." It represents a network with height values. The grid interpolates and transforms the original values, filling the cells with the resulting values. The advantage of this system is that the values can be continuously transformed and refined based on approximation.

TGRID (Triangulated Grid) combines the principles of the previous two methods. The main advantage is that this technology is ideal for describing complex topographic maps and areas with challenging terrain. Mathematical calculations help predict unexpected changes in the surface, such as boulders and small depressions. 

Multiple interpolation methods are used, including linear interpolation, inverse distance weighting, kriging, spline interpolation, and trend interpolation.

A Digital Elevation Model (DEM) is a digital representation of the Earth's terrain, depicting the elevation of the land surface. It is typically represented as a grid of elevation values, where each grid cell corresponds to a specific geographic location, and the elevation data provides information about the height above sea level
Digital Elevation Models are generated using various technologies, including aerial and satellite remote sensing, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), and radar systems. These technologies capture elevation data by measuring the distance between the sensor and the Earth's surface, allowing for the creation of detailed and accurate representations of terrain
Digital Elevation Models are essential in a wide range of applications, including hydrology, urban planning, environmental modeling, and geosciences. They contribute to decision-making by providing insights into drainage patterns, flood risk assessment, landform analysis, slope stability, and terrain visualization, among other critical factors.
Digital Elevation Models support 3D terrain visualization by representing the Earth's surface in three dimensions. This visualization is crucial for various purposes, such as simulating landscapes for urban planning, analyzing terrain for infrastructure projects, and understanding the topography of a region in a more immersive and realistic manner.
Digital Elevation Models are used in slope analysis to calculate the steepness of terrain. This information is valuable in fields such as geology, forestry, and civil engineering for assessing landslide risk, planning roads, optimizing land use, and understanding the ecological impact of slope gradients on ecosystems.



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