New products from the shuttle radar topography mission



New data products with broad applicability to the Earth sciences are now available from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). SRTM, a joint project of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and NASA, flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on an 11-day mission in February 2000 with the goal of collecting a near-global data set of high-resolution elevation data [Fan and Kobrick, 2000]. Data from the mission have been available to researchers for several years, but newly available products offer enhanced usability and applicability.

Final products include elevation data resulting from a substantial editing effort by the NGA in which water bodies and coastlines were well defined and data artifacts known as spikes and wells (single pixel errors) were removed. This second version of the SRTM data set, also referred to as ‘finished’ data, represents a significant improvement over earlier versions that had nonflat water bodies, poorly defined coastlines, and numerous noise artifacts. The edited data are available at a one-arc-second resolution (approximately 30 meters) for the United States and its territories, and at a three-arc-second resolution (approximately 90 meters) for non-U.S. areas.