Text Size
DEMmaker Creates Digital Elevation Models for Navigation and Hazard Detection
August 16, 2011

    › Benefits
    › Applications
    › Licensing and Partnering Opportunity
    › Contact Information

Innovators at NASA's Johnson Space Center have developed a software suite that produces data products containing surface shape, reflectivity, and geomorphology for a desired planetary surface. The Digital Elevation Model Maker (DEMmaker) suite produces seamless sets of digital elevation models (DEMs) at virtually any resolution or size to provide the desired levels of terrain feature detail as a spacecraft approaches a planetary surface. The innovation enables researchers to study a wide variety of problem domains, as the DEMs incorporate observed data as well as mathematical models of planet morphology. Designed to model the lunar surface, DEMmaker can generate and export terrain models for a wide range of simulation, analysis, and visualization environments. In addition, the integration of new statistical terrain feature models, available reconnaissance DEMs, and control networks enhance its potential value.


  • Innovative: Produces sets of DEMs based on the best available planetary reconnaissance data
  • High-performance: Supports high-fidelity simulations and engineering assessments of the performance of terrain relative navigation and hazard detection sensors and algorithms
  • High-resolution: Supports the rendering of shaded synthetic camera views and out-the-window vistas with realistic or arbitrary lighting conditions
  • Flexible: Enables researchers to study a wide variety of problem domains by incorporating real, observed data as well as mathematical models of lunar morphology based on scientific research
  • Proven: Evaluates NASA's Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) system performance within high fidelity environments


  • Organizations interested in the design, analysis, simulation, and visualization activities for terrain relative navigation, hazard detection, and surface system technologies for both terrestrial and planetary applications

Licensing and Partnering Opportunity

This technology is being made available through JSC's Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, which seeks to transfer technology into and out of NASA to benefit the space program and U.S. industry. NASA invites companies to consider licensing this technology for commercial applications.

Contact Information

If you would like more information about this technology or about NASA's technology transfer program, please contact:

Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office
NASA's Johnson Space Center
Phone: 281-483-3809
E-mail: jsc-techtran@mail.nasa.gov

Image Token: 
Image Token: 
Page Last Updated: January 16th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator