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Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan



NTT DATA and RESTEC add high-detail 2-meter resolution maps and 3D printing data to their Global Digital 3D Map Distribution Service! —providing more useful 3D maps.


NTT DATA Corporation and the Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan (RESTEC) have added high-detail, 2-meter resolution versions of 3D maps and a new service offering 3D map data for use with 3D printers to their Global Digital 3D Map Distribution Service. This service, which uses satellite images, offers the highest-precision 3D maps in the world (*1).
NTT DATA and RESTEC began distributing their Global Digital 3D Map Distribution Service in February 2014. The service used 5-meter resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEM) (*2)—a world’s first—to distribute 3D maps recreating the elevation of the earth’s terrain. By the end of March 2015, the service provided maps covering an area equaling roughly 60% of the earth’s surface. Demand for these maps has grown in rising nations, with wider-ranging uses of the map seen in increasingly diverse fields. These uses include map provision, disaster prevention measures, energy generation planning in the electricity sector, mining area exploration in the field of natural resources, and countermeasures to prevent the spread of epidemics in the field of health.
With new additions to the 3D map service that address various demand in countries around the world, the two companies aim to achieve total sales of 1.5 billion yen in the 2015 fiscal year.

The Global Digital 3D Map Distribution Service commenced in February 2014 through cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Using approximately 3 million satellite images taken by JAXA’s advanced land observing satellite, “DAICHI” (ALOS) (*3), the service began with 3D maps of a 5-meter resolution—the highest in the world.
Compared to previous methods using aerial photographs, these maps enabled the acquisition of detailed 3D map data at one-tenth the cost and in time frames as short as a single week. They also greatly improved upon the precision of existing 3D world maps, which had a resolution between 30 and 90 meters. Thanks to these factors, demand has increased for the maps in rising nations—those of Asia and Africa in particular—and they have been widely used in increasingly diverse fields. Applications include map provision, devising disaster prevention measures, energy generation planning in the electricity sector, mining area exploration in the field of natural resources, and planning measures to prevent the spread of epidemics in the field of health. Meanwhile, in urban areas, city planning and other similar fields have created the need for map data with a level of detail even higher than 5 meters. Thus, NTT DATA and RESTEC resolved to offer new, highly detailed 2-meter resolution versions of the maps.
Additionally, in order to respond to market needs regarding utilization of 3D map data to create physical 3D models in the fields of disaster prevention, precise modeling, and various forms of planning, the two companies will also offer map data that can be used with 3D printers.

High-detail 2-meter resolution versions of 3D maps
Service content:
This service distributes highly detailed 2-meter resolution versions of 3D maps utilizing satellite images from DigitalGlobe, a US company that boasts images of the highest resolution amongst private-sector satellites. Displaying elevation variances in topography with 2-meter resolution DEMs, the new maps are able to represent fine differences in height at the “man-made structure” level, a feat that was difficult with the previous 5-meter resolution maps. By using the latest satellite images, the service is able to provide 3D maps that are both highly detailed and recent. This means that the service allows for use of detailed 3D maps in urban planning and facility maintenance for cities and other areas where changes in elevation are more dramatic than standard topography, as well as 3D map data updates that reflect topographical changes after large-scale disasters and other such events.
Service provision:
The service provides DEM (Digital Elevation Model) data, which indicates elevation.
Unit of data provision:
Data will be provided for an area of the customer’s choice (with a minimum of 25 km2).
Starting from 10,800 yen per 1 km2.


Satellite Image


2m resolution (to be newly added)


5m resolution (currently offered) 

90m resolution (previous 3D maps)


2m resolution 3D map (Tokyo) (Color-processed bird’s eye view) 


2m resolution 3D map (Mt. Everest)  (Color-processed bird’s eye view)

Examples of uses:
Urban sector:
• Urban development and planning
• Infrastructure planning for roads, railways, waterworks, etc.
• Planning and monitoring of civil engineering works
• Facility planning for power generation, plants, etc.
Disaster prevention:
• Damage simulations for flooding, debris flow, pyroclastic flow, etc.
• Ascertaining topographical changes resulting from natural disasters
• Planning routes for aircraft
• Vehicle navigation
• Radio wave propagation simulations for wireless communications
Natural resources / environmental:
• Monitoring the status of excavation at mines
• Ascertaining the status of forest development

3D printer data distribution service
Service content:
This service provides 3D map data in the STL file format, which can be read directly by 3D printers. It enables the creation of highly detailed 3D topographical models and is expected to see expanded use for “usable 3D models” in various types of planning/design, precision modeling, and simulations/analysis utilizing models in disaster prevention and other fields.
Service provision:
Data will be provided in the STL (Standard Triangulated Language) file format (for three-dimensional data).
Unit of data provision:
Data will be offered as an option available with 3D map provision.
Starting from 50,400 yen per file (in addition to the cost of the 3D map).


Data compatible with 3D printers (Mt. Fuji)


Use with a 3D printer (Mt. Fuji)

Future of the service
Through the provision of 3D maps and related services, NTT DATA and RESTEC are endeavoring to expand the use of geospatial information, to achieve market creation, and to promote related industries. The two companies are addressing diverse demand through new services and through coordination with external geospatial information content and systems, while simultaneously developing their new brand. Through these initiatives, they aim to achieve sales totaling 1.5 billion yen in the 2015 fiscal year.

Global Digital 3D Map Distribution Service website: (external link)
Information on the JAXA ALOS project: (external link)

*1 Digital 3D map: Data containing records of 3D coordinate values (horizontal location and elevation) of the earth’s surface. Composed of two types of data: DEM (Digital Elevation Models) which indicate elevation, and orthographic projection (orthorectified) images, which indicate horizontal location. The orthorectified images correct distortions that accompany aerial photographs and have had correct locational information added to them.
*2 Digital Elevation Model (DEM): A digital expression of the terrain of the ground surface that has digitized height values in intervals of specific lattice points. The resolution is a measure of the level of detail of the data. 5-meter resolution means that the height values have been recorded in lattice point intervals of 5 meters.
With regard to similar global-scale maps that have been provided to date, there are 90-meter and 30-meter resolution Digital Elevation Models (first edition released in 2003), developed through data observed via US space shuttles in 2000; there is also a 30-meter resolution Digital Elevation Model (first edition released in 2009) jointly developed by the US and Japan through satellite images starting in 2000.
*3 Advanced Land Observing Satellite “DAICHI” (ALOS): A Japanese earth observation satellite that was operated from January 2006 to May 2011. It conducted high-detail observation of the entire world and contributed to such fields as cartography and the updating of maps, disaster status confirmation, and the observation of local environments. Of the approximately 6.5 million images that were captured during the satellite’s period of operation, this service utilizes approximately 3 million that the Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM) captured with low cloud cover.

For more information, please contact:
Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan
Public Relations Office