The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will start offering three-dimensional digital terrain data (ASTER GDEM) at no charge by using multiple images based on data captured by "ASTER", an earth observing satellite sensor developed by METI. ASTER GDEM, which is a highly accurate digital elevation model (DEM) covering all the land on earth, is the result of an international joint project between Japan and the U.S. ASTER GDEM will be available via electronic download from the Earth Remote Sensing Data Analysis Center (ERSDAC) of Japan, etc. from June 29, 2009.
Three-dimensional terrain data from ASTER GDEM is expected to be utilized in various fields such as oil resource development, simulation of natural disasters, etc. and water-resource management in combination with various other data.
"ASTER" is an optical sensor for resource exploration developed by METI and launched onboard the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) "Terra" spacecraft in December 1999. It has been in stable operation for more than nine years and captured 1.65 million scenes (one scene is equivalent to 3,600 km2). ASTER has accumulated one of the world’s largest collections of image data.
ASTER GDEM provides Global Digital Elevation Model that covers almost all the land on earth. It is based on enormous amounts of image data captured by a satellite-borne sensor "ASTER" under collaboration between METI and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). METI and NASA announced their intent to develop and provide ASTER GDEM at the 4th Group on Earth Observations (GEO) in November 2007.
(1) ASTER GDEM was developed and provided through Japan-U.S. collaboration.(Japan side: METI, ERSDAC, and Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)U.S. side: NASA and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
(2) ASTER GDEM can be used as basic data for satellite image utilization. When used in combination with various other data (e.g. meteorological data and geological data), ASTER GDEM is expected to be used in various fields such as oil resource development, simulation of natural disaster, etc. and water-resource management.
(3) The accuracy of ASTER GDEM (spacial resolution 30m) exceeds that of three-dimensional terrain data captured by the Space Shuttle (spacial resolution 90m), which is used most widely in the world today. ASTER GDEM is the world’s first three-dimensional terrain data that covers all the land on earth. Therefore, it is expected to become a global standard for GDEM and to be utilized in many more fields. In addition, its utilization technology is expected to improve.
(4) For electronic download of ASTER GDEM, please see the website of ERSDAC below.
June 26, 2009
Division in Charge
Space Industry Office
Aerospace and Defense Industry Division
Manufacturing Industries Bureau