Digital Elevation Model (DEM) Data

About DEM Data

Mission information

A DEM is a digital model or 3D* representation of a terrain's surface. With a DEM you are able to obtain and analayse heights within your area of interest, and integrate the data in 3D applications. The data can also be used for the orthorectification of satellite imagery (e.g., Sentinel 1). Sentinel Hub supports Mapzen's DEM, available through Amazon Web Services (AWS) through EU-Central-1 and US-West-2 regions, and Copernicus DEM, available through AWS EU-Central-1 region.

Mapzen DEM is based on SRTM30 (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) and other sources. Bathymetry data is taken from ETOPO1. It is a static collection and does not depend on the date. More information: Mapzen's documentation.

Copernicus DEM is based on WorldDEM that is infilled on a local basis with the following DEMs: ASTER, SRTM90, SRTM30, SRTM30plus, GMTED2010, TerraSAR-X Radargrammetric DEM, ALOS World 3D-30m. We provide two instances named COPERNICUS_30 and COPERNICUS_90, with worldwide coverage. COPERNICUS_90 uses COP-DEM GLO-90, which has 90 meters resolution. COPERNICUS_30 uses COP-DEM GLO-30 Public, which has 30 meters resolution, where it's available, and for the rest is uses GLO-90. Tiles that are missing from GLO-30 Public are not yet released to the public by Copernicus Programme. Both instances are static and do not depend on the date. We return a homogeneous DEM with zeros in regions where there are no source tiles (e.g. in ocean areas). More information here.

*Actually, we should say "2.5D" to be more precise. The terrain surface embedded in 3D space is modeled in a way that precisely one height is assigned to each pixel. This brings limitations as not all 3D shapes (e.g., overhangs, vertical walls, caves) can be fully modeled.

Attribution and use

For Mapzen DEM, see terms here.

For Copernicus DEM GLO-90, check the terms at the bottom, where it says "Licence for COP-DEM-GLO-90-F Global 90m Full, Free & OpenLicence for the use of the Copernicus WorldDEMâ„¢-90". For GLO-30 Public, the license is not yet added to the linked document, but it's the same as the license for GLO-90.

Accessing DEM Data

To access data you need to send a POST request to our process API. The requested data will be returned as the response to your request. Each POST request can be tailored to get you exactly the data you require. To do this requires setting various parameters which depend on the collection you are querying. This chapter will help you understand the parameters for DEM data. To see examples of such requests go here, and for an overview of all API parameters see the API Reference.

Endpoint Locations

Mapzen coverage.
Mapzen coverage up to resolution level 13 (level 14 is missing).
Copernicus coverage.
Copernicus coverage. 30m is infilled with 90m where 30m tiles are not released.

Data type identifier: DEM

Use DEM as the value of the parameter in your API requests. This is mandatory and will ensure you get DEM data.

Filtering Options

This chapter will explain the object of the DEM process API.


Sets the used DEM. By default, when it's not set, it uses Mapzen's DEM.

COPERNICUS_30Copernicus DEM GLO-30 Public and GLO-90
COPERNICUS_90Copernicus DEM GLO-90

Processing Options

This chapter will explain the object of the DEM process API.

upsamplingDefines the interpolation used for processing when the pixel resolution is greater than the source resolution (e.g. 5m/px with a 10m/px source).NEAREST - nearest neighbour interpolation
BILINEAR - bilinear interpolation
BICUBIC - bicubic interpolation
downsamplingAs above except when the resolution is lower.NEAREST - nearest neighbour interpolation
BILINEAR - bilinear interpolation
BICUBIC - bicubic interpolation
egmAn option to add geoid heights from an earth gravitational model to the orthometric heights in which case the returned values represent ellipsoidal heights relative to the WGS84 ellipsoid.

For Mapzen's DEM, we use EGM96, and for Copernicus DEMs, we use EGM2008.
TRUE - returned values are ellipsoid heights
FALSE - returned values are orthometric heights
clampNegativeMapzen DEM specific option. It replaces negative orthometric heights with 0. Useful for removing ocean bathymetry, for example.

Note: If clampNegative:true and egm: true it is still possible to have negative output values. This is because the egm offset can be negative and it is applied after clampNegative.
TRUE - negative orthometric heights are replaced with 0.
FALSE - no changes.

Available Bands and Data

Information in this chapter is useful when defining input object in evalscript. A string listed in the column Name can be an element of the input.bands array in your evalscript.

Property nameDescriptionResolution
DEMHeights in metersVarious, depending on the datasource used for the generation of the DEM, see.
dataMaskThe mask of data/no data pixels (more).N/A*

*dataMask has no source resolution as it is calculated for each output pixel.


The data values for each band in your custom script are presented in the default units as specified here. In case more than one unit is available for a given band, you may optionally set the value of input.units in your evalscript setup function to one of the options. Doing so will present data in that unit. The Source Format specifies how and with what precision the digital numbers from which the unit is derived are encoded. The Typical Range indicates what values are common for a given band and unit, however outliers can be expected.

For DEM, DN (digital numbers) are the default and only unit. DN values equal elevation.

BandUnitSource FormatTypical RangeNotes
DEMDN (Height in meters)INT16 or FLOAT32-1000 - 4000The full range is about -11000 - +9000 (Mariana trench to Everest).
dataMaskN/ABoolean0 - no data
1 - data

Scene Object

The evalscript evaluatePixel scene object is not returned/is null when requesting DEM.

Collection specific constraints

DEM values are in meters and can be negative for areas which lie below sea level (e.g. ocean areas or much of the Netherlands). When requesting a DEM a simple way to mitigate this is to set the output format in your evalscript to sampleType: SampleType.FLOAT32. More about output formats can be found here.

For output formats sampleType: SampleType.UINT8 and sampleType: SampleType.UINT16 be careful as negative values can be misinterpreted due to signedness issues as well as potential problems due to integer overflow. For example:

  • sampleType: SampleType.UINT8 - a height of 256 meters will be encoded as 0 in such a file due to overflow. A height of -1 meter will be encoded as 255.
  • sampleType: SampleType.UINT16- a height of -15 meters for instance will be encoded as 65520.

One way to handle this adjustment is to ensure there are no negative values in the output by adding a constant to DEM values, e.g. 12000 (the minimum value in DEM is not smaller than -11000 m). If you need actual DEM values (i.e. heights), the constant 12000 must be subtracted from the output values outside of Sentinel Hub.

function setup() {
return {
input: ["DEM"],
id: "default",
bands: 1,
sampleType: SampleType.UINT16
function evaluatePixel(sample) {
return [sample.DEM + 12000]


DEM examples