I'm using ArcGIS for Desktop and I'd like to know how can I extract the elevation model from a imagery of photos. I have the have each image (jpg) geo referenced. After, I don't know what tool may use to analyst these pictures and get an 3d model or the DTM or DEM information ( something like Photomodeler Scanner does, a Dense Surface).

Can I do this with ArcGIS for Desktop (ArcMap)?

  • 3
    No. You need stereo pairs and photogrametery software. It is not possible to get elevation from Orthorectified photography. Jul 2, 2014 at 1:56
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    @MichaelMiles-Stimson: You should post your comment as an answer. Jul 2, 2014 at 3:30
  • I think so @DevdattaTengshe, nobody has interjected. I am not an expert on photogrametry so can't point jaspher in the right direction. I will ask our photo guys what they use. Jul 2, 2014 at 3:33

1 Answer 1


You can't get elevation from Orthorectified photography.

To get elevation data from airphotos you need special photos, hardware and software:

Photos: Sterio pairs, a set of overlapping images with an accompanying file detailing the location of the aircraft at the time of capture (x,y and z).

Hardware: 3d monitor, with glasses. Nowdays you can get cheap 3d LCD monitors with glasses, previously only CRT monitors had a refresh rate suitable and LCD polarization interfered with the special glasses.

A special box attaches to the computer via USB and Video output to control the flicker rate.

Also a 3d input device is needed, either wheels and pedals or a rat (a mouse with wheels to zoom in/out).

Software: Specialist plotting software like Socet Set to drive the special hardware and capture the 3d input.

  • Hello and thanks your answer. I was learning Erdas Imagine, I sow it something difficult without a successful result. I'd like to ask you if I could do with LPS Erdas Imagine or I need other tools? (again,from UAV photos to DEM, later to TIN). Thanks your support.
    – 788498
    Jul 2, 2014 at 23:53
  • I have heard of UAV photos being used to get elevation from. Generally it goes photo->features->TIN/Terrain->DEM. From the photos elevation dots and breaklines are captured which get inserted into a terrain then rasterized. I am not an expert in this field, nor have I used ERDAS. If the UAV photos are scenes and not orthorectified then it should be possible, provided the correct parameter files are present for the software. Jul 3, 2014 at 0:09
  • I hope that you may help me if you know another method or software with examples. Thanks.
    – 788498
    Jul 4, 2014 at 1:44
  • It's not my area of expertise. You need to look at what camera files are supplied and find what software suits that. Different software has different files and some can open a few of them. Jul 4, 2014 at 4:26

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