In one of my projects I need to digitize video clips showing some natural landscape. Specifically I need to know distances between different areas and elevation levels.

I have a topographic map of the area so distances are not a problem.

Is there any tool / library that allows to create DEM from a common topographic map? A language of the library doesn't matter, but I prefer open source solutions if possible.

I know about QGIS and GRASS, but I cannot found how to use them for this specific purpose.

EDIT: My map looks like this: enter image description here

  • What do you mean by a common topographic map? You mean a chart with roads, rivers, grid lines and height either shown by contour lines mixed in with all that or fancy hill shading?
    – Spacedman
    May 25 '13 at 23:51
  • Where in the world is your map from? Can you not just download a DEM for your area of interest?
    – blah238
    May 26 '13 at 1:06
  • @Spacedman: yes, the chart with contour lines.
    – Flot2011
    May 26 '13 at 7:20
  • @blah238: the users provide the maps as an input data for my program. I just don't want to send them to download DEMs, I cannot also guarantee that there always be a DEM for their specific region. I prefer very much to automate the process.
    – Flot2011
    May 26 '13 at 7:30
  • 3
    If you are okay with 30m resolution you could download the entire ASTER Global DEM V2.
    – blah238
    May 26 '13 at 20:09

If you are okay with 30-meter resolution, instead of attempting to extract a DEM from a topographic map, you could try downloading the entire ASTER Global DEM. See this question for more information:


Try this tool, http://freegeographytools.com/2009/3dem-website-is-gone-but-3dem-still-available-here unless you have ArcGIS available. You will need to download a DEM of your area. This tool is just a simple way to get an animation. You could export as VRML and use a browser based VRML viewer to do a fly through. You can overlay your map to the DEM as long as it has a georeferenced for a GIS. You probably can get a digital copy by searching around that is suitable for a GIS.

  • 1
    I think you misunderstood the question. To me at least, it sounds like the OP already has video clips and wants to "georeference" them.
    – blah238
    May 26 '13 at 2:09
  • @blah238: exactly
    – Flot2011
    May 26 '13 at 7:19

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