I need to recreate a landscape in 3D or real World areas by using WebGL technology. The typical area I need to get height map for is about 1km x 1km and resolution should be as much accurate as possible. Approach I'm thinking to follow is:

  1. Get the elevation map of the area I need in greyscale png format (or any other image formats) by providing center point lat, log
  2. Covert each image point into x,y,z coordinates
  3. Create and display my terrain 3D mesh

I'm OK with steps 2 and 3, but I don't know a service/API to query that can return such image height map with a suitable resolution. I've looked at the Google API but it returns json/xml format info along a path not a square area. Can you suggest any?


To date, the finest freely available Digital Elevation Model is SRTM. It's delivered from multiple sources (e.g. here (download URLs are very standard so it can easily be automated)), and comes in 5x5 degrees tiles. I don't know of any API to query spatial subsets.

  • Thanks for your answer! In the mean time I had found this: eorc.jaxa.jp/ALOS/en/aw3d30/data/index.htm Did you know it? Which one is better in you knowledge? – lviggiani Jan 13 '17 at 15:44
  • Didn't know about the alos DEM so can't really tell which one is "best". Also note that these two options is probably the best you can get globally; but there are probably much better national DEMs available out there – Loïc Dutrieux Jan 14 '17 at 10:44

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