Sonny’s LiDAR Digital Terrain Models of Europe

Dear OpenStreetMap community,

I want to tell you, that I’ve created Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) of many European countries. These are based on precise Opendata LiDAR-elevation data of the country’s Geographical Institutes.

The improvements in accuracy, quality and fine details of these model’s compared to those of satellite-based datasets like SRTM, ASTER, ALOS, COPERNICUS are enormous. Especially in wooded areas, steep rocky terrain or narrow valleys.

Download and use are for free, although I appreciate a donation to support my work :grinning:

You can find all infos and download links on my website:


One thing I miss is a clear statement of the licence terms of the individual data from the regional providers - or did you get theme under same terms as you ship?

PS: How does it compare to Terrain Tiles - Registry of Open Data on AWS - which e.g. are available in brouter.web?

Please read a bit before jumping to any nonsensical conclusions.
There is a huge difference between the mapzen/nextzen and the data that Sonny offers.
P.S. If you look around in the documentation for BRouter you will see that it also uses Sonny’s data.

Sonny, Maybe you should explain a bit how your work can help and facilitate the mapping in OpenStreetMap, not just as an integration product to MapsForge OAM.
The world of OAM and OruxMaps is small and little known in this forum, so most of them will not know how to recognize or use the fabulous gift that you are giving them with your magnificent work.


Hello Sonny,
We stumbled on your amazing work a few weeks ago while discussing artifacts on the DEM used on Opensnowmap (and elsewhere).
Just getting the original data from the various suppliers is a piece of work!
I’m curious about your tool chain, how do you merge datasets at their border?

I agree.

All open data Lidar available in the UK requires explicit attribution under the Open Government Licence. Also I am not aware of any openly licenced data from Northern Ireland, other than datasets covering quite small areas. There are however 50m grid DTMs available for NI & GB (which are not Lidar sourced). These also require explicit attribution under OGL.

Austria & Switzerland have decent Lidar data available, at least to download: I haven’t studied the licence terms. France also has available Lidar, but the files were a bit big for what I wanted to do.

A lot of countries or administrative regions are releasing Lidar data in a huge variety of more or less open licences.
More than often, you’re to browse the relevant local laws to understand your rights with the data. I think Sonny did what’s best in this case: provide links to all source material, and release his personal project ‘as is’.
It’s up to whoever want to use this data to check what they can do with it on top of OSM data. Certainly not for mapping in OSM.

I invite you to instruct the brouter folks to give the correct source for their hill shades, in case they tell a lie on their frontend.

Meanwhile I informed the developer of my hiking app about the availability of better hill shades. But I still would like it, if the licence terms of Sonnies data was transparent to them without much digging.

But that doesn’t meet the licence requirements as stated on the UK sources (significant work was required to get agreement about these same licences for use of OGL data in OSM). Furthermore they are released under a different licence, albeit one compatible, AFAIK, with OGL. As contributors to OSM we must be diligent about such things, particularly as many people make a big fuss about attribution of OSM. Statements such as this will be used against OSM by those unwilling to meet the attribution requirements. There’s a big difference between “as-is”, and “this is suitable for the OSM community”.

Note the, hidden away, list on the Google drive does not contain suitable attribution & licence statements either, and, as expected, does use the data I mentioned before. For the Isle of Man I can only find the DEM. Lidar and contour data availability on the Business mapping page, which suggests these items need to be purchased from BlueSky.

Given the massive effort required to merge, say Welsh, Scottish and English Lidar data with at least two DEMs, I would have thought the corresponding effort to ensure correct attribution and suitable links is much less and undoubtedly worthwhile. There’s a recent European JRC paper on availability of open Lidar data (although the call it non-commercial). It looks a bit out-of-date, but is a useful cross-reference.


Sorry, with emphasis on :

Quoting from

Last hyperlink is broken but there’s already an issue opened by @SonnyLidarDTM.

I think there is some confusion, because we use different elevation sources for separate purposes:

  • brouter backend uses CGIAR SRTM and some Sonny files > 60° north for routing by adding elevation to OSM nodes
  • brouter-web frontend uses AWS Terrain Tiles for the hillshading overlay only, as a replacement for the discontinued wmflabs tiles. Terrain Tiles provide a tile pyramid ready for use in the Maplibre map library in the browser. That compilation (originally done by Mapzen) is rather old and contains mostly 30m EU-DEM in Europe and only a few LiDAR sources, see data sources.
1 Like

I see, clicking “copyright” on brouter.web, I get a list of all contributors, regardless the active layers, while clicking “Höhenschummerung” with hill-shades layer active, I only get to aws-tiles. Theoretically, brouter.web could construct a link to the base source from the x-amz-meta-x-imagery-sources http header. Should I file an issue? It is a bit of grunt work and probably not required by the licence (in my case CC-BY-4.0 LIDAR by the Austrian BEV, 10m only, they have better available in JOSM/iD; But for hiking/planning, it beats SRTM by far! And terrain does not change so often, so it is not much of a problem, that it is old.)

Yes, please open an issue, so we can discuss attribution in brouter-web there.

And terrain does not change so often, so it is not much of a problem, that it is old.

That might be true for individual sources. My point was rather that the Terrain Tiles compilation as such is old and misses all the LiDAR sources published as open data in recent years, which are included the Sonny compilation. You are just lucky in Austria, where both compilations seem to have a 10m resolution DTM.

Just an update:
I released quite a few new DTMs during the last months, especially in Middle- and Eastern Europe.
Enjoy them!

1 Like