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Digital Surface Model from Aerial Photos

Digital Surface Model from Aerial Photos

The digital surface model is comprised of unclassified points with elevation values in the form of a point cloud in 2.5D from aerial photo matching, with or without infrared colour.

The digital surface model is a type of elevation model which describes what can be seen from the air. The topsides of vegetation, buildings and other objects above the ground are included (unlike a terrain model, where such details are removed). On open land, where there is no vegetation, buildings or anything else, the digital surface model shows the ground surface. The points which constitute the digital surface model are not a three-dimensional cluster of points; they are a layer of points with elevation values (2.5D model).

The digital surface model is created through aerial image matching and consists of unclassified points with elevation values. The product is an output product and is available in two variants: Digital Surface Model Aerial Photos (CIR) - i.e., supplied in colour infrared - and Digital Surface Model from Aerial Photos (without CIR). Metadata for the product is supplied.

Area of application

The digital surface model has several areas of application; it can for example be used to calculate forest growth, enter elevation values for data in 3D applications, identify changes or measure the movement of gas emissions.

Current situation

The product shall be developed for the country as a whole. Initially, aerial imaging from 2016 will be used, but as this only covers parts of Sweden, imaging from 2013-2015 will also be used in order to cover as much of the country as possible. The digital surface model will not initially have full coverage of Sweden, as there are areas in which we do not have sufficiently up-to-date aerial imaging as a basis for creating the digital surface model.

The digital surface model production will follow Lantmäteriet's image supply programme, and new data is added every year as new aerial images become available, with around 1/3 of Sweden each time. This means that in the long-term, it will be possible to order digital surface models from different years for the same area.

The quadrants available for the respective year when the aerial photographs were taken, plus planned production of the surface model, are found in Geolex, under Höjddata [elevation data]. 


For a more detailed description of the content, see the product description:

Demo data

Free demo data is available for anyone wanting to test elevation data.

Order geodata Terms and conditions and fees

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