How to use SRTM and ASTER DEM Data for Digital Terrain Model generation using AutoPlotter

April 14, 20230

Generating accurate digital terrain models (DTMs) is essential for effective reconnaissance and planning in various fields, such as land surveying, civil engineering, and geology and can be used for a variety of purposes, including terrain analysis, hydrological modelling, and environmental assessment. The availability of this global DEM data has made it possible for planners and researchers to access elevation data for areas where ground-based data collection is difficult or impossible. SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) and ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) DEM (Digital Elevation Model) data are two widely used sources of elevation information for creating DTMs. In this blog, we’ll discuss how to work with SRTM and ASTER DEM data using AutoPlotter software.

Understanding the Basics of SRTM and ASTER DEM Data

SRTM and ASTER DEM data are both based on remote sensing technology, which involves using sensors on satellites or aircraft to collect data from the Earth’s surface. SRTM is a NASA mission that used a radar instrument to measure the height of the Earth’s surface, while ASTER is a sensor on the Terra satellite that captures both visible and infrared images of the Earth’s surface. Both SRTM and ASTER data are freely available for download.

Downloading SRTM and ASTER Data from Reliable Sources

To download SRTM data, you can use the USGS EarthExplorer platform, which allows you to select the area of interest and the type of data you need. SRTM data is available at different resolutions, with 1 arc-second (30 meters) being the most common. For ASTER data, you can use the NASA Earthdata Search platform, which offers various types of ASTER products, including the ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model.

Importing SRTM and ASTER Data into AutoPlotter

AutoPlotter is a software package that provides a range of tools for generating DTMs and other types of maps. To import SRTM or ASTER data into AutoPlotter, you need to first place them at designated location after downloading from the source. AutoPlotter can read data from this location.

Generating a Digital Terrain Model from the Imported Data

Once the SRTM or ASTER data is placed, you can link it to AutoPlotter and use its DTM generation algorithm to create the terrain. The output DTM can be visualized and edited using AutoPlotter’s user-friendly interface.

Applications of Digital Terrain Models in Reconnaissance and Planning

DTMs generated from SRTM and ASTER data can be used in a wide range of applications, such as land surveying, civil engineering, geology, forestry, and environmental management. They can provide information about the elevation, slope, and other terrain features of a given area, which can be used for site selection, infrastructure planning, hazard assessment, and resource management. The user can define the contour interval and generate contour lines. Sections can be generated at any desired chainage or interval, which can be used for planning and design purposes. The generated sections can be further analysed to determine the elevation changes along a roadway, stream, or any other features.

If you missed our recent webinar on working with SRTM and ASTER DEM data using AutoPlotter, don’t worry! You can still access the recording and learn how to generate DTMs from these data sources. Simply register on our website and watch the recording.


To conclude, SRTM and ASTER DEM data are valuable resources for generating DTMs, and AutoPlotter is a powerful tool for processing and visualizing these data. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create accurate and detailed DTMs for your reconnaissance and planning.

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