OpenDEM High Resolution DEM Searcher map client online


The days of data shortage are gone. More and more high resolution DEM data sets are published under free licenses or as public domain. Through INSPIRE in Europe more and more will follow. But it is hard to find these data sets and the corresponding licenses.
Therefore, this map client was developed:

This client focus on free high resolution datasets with a spatial resolution of 2 meters and below on county/state scale.

Have also a look at the help topic and the shown data sources, link lists and catalogues.



What do DTM and DSM mean? I found those abbreviations when clicked on a country where DEM data were available.

A Digital Surface Model (DSM) represents the earth´s surface and includes all objects on it. In contrast to a DSM, the Digital Terrain Model (DTM) represents the bare ground surface without any objects like plants and buildings.

Thanks, I will extent the map client with this information in the next days.


Nice. Do you have any plans to produce a combined STRM + the higher resolution open data dataset? IMHO the whole area of endeavour is suffering from constant reinventing of the wheel, instead of all contributing to a single “best open DTM”.

In any case I noticed that the boundaries of the Canton Zürich LIDAR generated DTM/DSM seems to be rather off, where I’m sitting right now is covered be the data and very near one of the edges, but you have the border roughly a km away.


Thanks, I have not planed to produce a combined Open DTM because I do not have the resources (must de about 405.000 GB for a global 1 m raster) and most important: I do not know how to deal with the different licenses and terms of trade :(.

But is trying to that ;).

Nothing against Stamen and the Knight Foundation, but what exactly the deliverable of the project is is completely unclear. So far it seems to have mainly resulted in hill-shading for maps produced by Stamen.

[My general, and often repeated, remark: adding “Open” to a projects/products name has become completely meaningless in itself in the last decade, at the best in might mean “slightly less closed”.]

Given that it is rather unlikely that we are going to have data for a complete 1m raster any time soon the challenge is more likely to be devising a way of handling large differences in resolution, say STRM vs sub one meter LIDAR datasets in a reasonable fashion.

The licence side of things is not that difficult IMHO, there are simply some pseudo open datasets that wouldn’t be able to be included in a combined open (as in the ) dataset, the LWG/myself can help with that.


Hi Simon,

Yes, it is a bit unclear what the concrete result of the Stamen project would be.

But I would not underestimate the resulting problems by the combination of different licenses.
Actually e.g. there is great open data in Germany but the license or better the BY condition does not really match the OSM requirements.

Anyway I would focus on simple search tools for “the western world” and other DIY ways (like DGPS approaches, mobile barometers or drones) for the IMHO more important parts of the world were not much data exists and VGI makes really sense.