Downloading ASTER Satellite Image

Sry Handini Puteri
3 min readNov 22, 2022

ASTER is a satellite image that contains the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) information. ASTER stands for Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer. It has 15–90 square meters spatial resolution. ASTER has VNIR, SWIR and TIR data, but it is commonly renowned for its DEM, specifically the terrain height models (DTM).

Where to download?

One of the source of Global Digital Eleveation Map (GDEM) ASTER provider can be accessed in NASA LP DAAC https://gdemdl.aster.jspacesystems.or.jp/index_en.html. Once you open the link, the default display shows the area of Japan (of course because ASTER is the cooperative effort between Japan and US).

Step by Step

  1. Open the ASTER GDEM link
Default display

2. Click the Area Select and move the cursor to your download area

The button below will enable you to select your area. In this instance, I would like to download ASTER in The Netherlands. Thus, I find my area, clicked the Area Select button. Click by dragging from the upper left to lower right of the map.

Selecting the area

3. Click the ‘download’ button

At the left corner of the screen, the amount of tiles to be downloaded are displayed. The amount of the tiles will depend on the extent of the area of coverage. In The Netherland case, the recommended tiles is around 20. Then click ‘Download’ button. The size of one tile is around 25 MB. The downloaded file will be stored in zip file.

The download button

4. Inspecting the downloaded ASTER data

Once the file is downloaded, there will in the format of .zip file. Unzip the file and you will see two folder inside one zip. There are several data format that need to be looked upon:

a. ASTER .dem : This is the dem file that we actually use. The dem file reflect the elevation data in meter. DEM referenced to the WGS84/EGM96 geoid

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Sry Handini Puteri

Personal learning space ; A Geoenthusiast ; Interested in Disaster Risk Management