Airbus Defence and Space

New elevation model of Merapi volcano

Digital elevation model from Airbus Defence and Space-built satellite supports emergency response

Authorities and emergency response teams working around the active Mount Merapi volcano in Indonesia have received a very valuable dataset to integrate into their decision-making and planning processes: a highly precise and up-to-date digital elevation model (DEM) generated from radar data of the TanDEM-X satellite mission.

In November, theTanDEM-X mission partners the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and Airbus Defence and Space GEO-Information Services were able to provide a TanDEM-X DEM, generated based on a dataset acquired by the satellite twins TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X on 15 October. This very recent DEM, covering the volcano only days before the first eruption on 26 October, is of great interest to the authorities charged with planning and conducting evacuations and countermeasures on-site.

Active for over 10,000 years, the Mount Merapi volcano is one of the world’s largest and most dangerous volcanoes. Since 26 October, several violent eruptions have occurred, and experts on site expect further eruptions. Authorities evacuated more than 370,000 people from a 20 km danger zone around the volcano, and are prepared to increase this as needed.

As the TanDEM-X mission is still in its commissioning phase the data set is purely experimental. Nevertheless, an excellent relative accuracy with an average vertical error of 1.6 m at a 12 m horizontal resolution could already be achieved.

More information on elevation models.

Earth ObservationImageryTandem-X