I don't quite understand the term-of-use of ASTER Global DEM V2 data:

By selecting 'Submit', I agree to the following:

-I agree to redistribute the ASTER GDEM only to individuals within my organization or project of intended use or in response to disasters in support of the GEO Disaster Theme.

-When presenting or publishing ASTER GDEM data, I agree to include 'ASTER GDEM is a product of METI and NASA.'

Does it mean I can't sell maps produced using this data?

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  • Thanks @Mapperz for the link! The key-phrases I should focus-on from that page are These data are not copyrighted, and we request that you include an acknowledgment and citation, right? They didn't explicitly say that we can use the data however we want, and they did ask us in which Research Area will we use the data (which was very categorically-limited)- that's why I thought it's only for research purposes.. So it's really cool to commercially use this? I only need to cite the use?
    – user8723
    Nov 19, 2012 at 20:43

2 Answers 2


I've found an explanation by Igor Brejc, author of Maperitive (an OSM-based mapmaking software) at CartoTalk:

QUOTE (rok @ Nov 8 2011, 12:33 AM) "One Q though: if I remember correctly, you wrote somewhere on the maperitive blog that the license for ASTER GDEM data is somehow problematic. Can you please elaborate?"

By "problematic" I meant the license is much more restrictive than SRTM (which is in Public Domain) and overly complicated, in my view. You cannot redistribute their DEM data or any kind of derivative work that produces a lossless transformation that would allow recovery of the original data (like converting DEM to another format and putting that on some Web server).

You can, however, redistribute hillshadings, 3D renderings and similar derivative work, since it is not possible to reconstruct the original DEM data from such products.

Take a look at https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/customer_service/aster_policies (make sure you click on the "Click here for additional GDEM redistribution information.").

So in a nutshell: we can only distribute (with citations) the derivatives from the original DEM which couldn't be transformed back to recover the original data.


Went straight to the source. This was their response:


Thank you for contacting the Land Processes (LP) DAAC User Services.

The general principle is one of reversibility: If someone can recover the original x-y-z values from the new product, then that new product can NOT be re-distributed. This can also be defined as lossless recovery.

ASTER Policies https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/products/aster_policies

Please let us know if you need further assistance.

Best regards, Janice Wilson

NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center User Services USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) 47914 252nd Street Sioux Falls, SD 57198-0001 Voice: 605-594-6116 Toll Free: 866-573-3222 Fax: 605-594-6963 E-mail: [email protected]

Web: https://LPDAAC.usgs.gov


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