SPOT Image Provides Digital Elevation Model Data to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

SPOT Image Corporation has been providing its Reference3D® Digital Elevation Data (DEM) to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to supplement an important global foundation elevation data set that the Agency has been producing since 2002. The SPOT data is used to supplement data collected during the February 2000 Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) Space Shuttle mission. The NGA’s project involves the production of medium resolution and high accuracy DEM data for the entire Earth landmass from 60 degrees north latitude to 56 degrees south latitude. Over 14,277 geocells (one degree of latitude by one degree of longitude) of landmass coverage are included in this data set. Since the SRTM mission, the NGA and partner commercial companies have been processing and finishing the geocell data.

A part of the NGA’s finishing involves filling void areas in some geocells where SRTM data is either missing or known to be incorrect. For some of the most challenging mountainous and desert areas with very large voids and steep terrain the NGA is utilizing SPOT’s Reference3D DEM data to fill the voids. The SPOT data offers several advantages including an accuracy of 15 meters CE 90 horizontal absolute accuracy and 10 meters LE 90 vertical accuracy, and broad coverage at competitive price and licensing terms. Also, Reference3D is produced in the same Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTEDTM) format used by the NGA, and it is also at the same Level 2 elevation post spacing (a post approximately every 30 meters of latitude and longitude). Finally, Reference3D source data collection and DEM production is an ongoing program, planned to continue through 2013.

“This project has been a wonderful example of both industry-government cooperation and an international partnership,” says Steve Miller, SPOT Image Corp.’s Director of Defense Programs. “Every working day there are communications between Spot Image offices in Toulouse and Chantilly, Virginia, and the NGA office in St. Louis, Missouri, to support this project. When finished, the sum of SRTM plus Reference3D data will represent the most comprehensive effort ever to measure almost the entire surface of the Earth with precision and high definition.”

Reference3D is produced in Toulouse, France, in a partnership between Spot Image, S.A., SPOT Image Corp.’s parent company, and IGN Espace, an element of the Institut Geographique National, the French government cartographic agency. The source data is collected from the SPOT 5 satellite.

The NGA distributes the SRTM DTED 2 data to US Defense and intelligence community customers for use in creating cartographic products and performing situational analysis worldwide. The NGA also releases to the public a SRTM DTED Level 1 data set (90 meter elevation postings). This data has the same world-wide coverage as the Level 2 data set, but at reduced resolution. The NGA plans to release an updated DTED Level 1 data set that has all voids filled. The first Level 1 data set was released to the global public in 2004. This data set is used in millions of applications worldwide by cartographers, geographic information concerns, and scientists.

About SPOT Image Corp. (

The SPOT constellation of three satellites offers the broadest range of image telemetry, including 2.5, 5, 10, and 20 meter resolutions. SPOT Image Corp., the US subsidiary of the Spot Image group, provides imagery, data, surveillance and mapping solutions within numerous markets including Defense, Homeland Security, Agriculture, Land Management & Planning, Disaster Recovery, and Oil, Gas & Mining Exploration. The constellation is supplemented by the Taiwanese satellite FORMOSAT-2 for which Spot Image has exclusive commercial distribution rights. Spot Image will also serve as exclusive commercial distributor for the upcoming very high resolution 2-satellite constellation, Pleiades, and the 2-meter SPOT 6 satellite.

For over two decades, the Spot Image organization has perfected the ability to harness space- and ground-based systems to meet customers’ needs. Spot Image has also developed a far-reaching global network of commercial offices, receiving stations, partners and distributors. Every first-tier data provider operating today relies on Spot’s commercial network for reaching the global market.

For further information:
Jessi Dick
14595 Avion Parkway, Suite 500
Chantilly, VA 20151
Phone: 703-715-3121

Author: EARSC

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