Step-by-step guide on How to Download SRTM DEM Data Using QGIS
Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) are essential for various geospatial projects, from hydrological modeling to terrain analysis. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) provides one of the most widely used DEM datasets. If you’re a QGIS user, you’re in luck! You can download this data directly within the software.
The Advantage of Using QGIS:
Using QGIS for downloading SRTM DEM data offers a seamless experience. You won’t need to toggle between external platforms or leave your QGIS workspace. Everything can be done with just a few clicks!
Setting Up the SRTM Downloader Plugin:
- Start by opening your QGIS workspace.
- Navigate to
Manage and Install Plugins.
- Search for the plugin named “SRTM Downloader“.
- Click on the plugin to install it.
- Once installed, you’ll find the SRTM Downloader listed under the plugins.
Prepping Your Workspace:
Before downloading the DEM data, it’s helpful to have a base map to guide you.
- Install another plugin called
Quick Map Services.
- Once installed, go to
Weband select the
Quick Map Servicesplugin.
OSM Standardto get the OpenStreetMap as your base map.
- After adding the OpenStreetMap, ensure the coordinate reference system is set to
EPSG 4326(WGS 1984 Geographic Coordinate Reference System). This ensures proper communication with the data source.
Downloading the DEM Data:
- Zoom into your area of interest on the map.
- Use the zoom-in tool to refine and draw a rectangle around the desired area.
- Open the SRTM Downloader plugin.
- Set the canvas extent, and the plugin will automatically determine the boundaries of your specified area.
- Click on the download button.
- For first-time users, you’ll be prompted to enter a username and password from the NASA data web portal. If you haven’t registered, you’ll need to do so. Once registered, use these credentials for all subsequent downloads.
Working with the Downloaded Data:
- After downloading, the DEM tiles will appear in your QGIS interface.
- If you wish to merge multiple tiles into one, go to
Miscellaneous, and select
- Choose all the layers you want to merge and run the process.
- The result is a single raster file, which is a mosaic of the selected tiles.
- You can customize the appearance of the DEM by changing its color scheme. For instance, use the single band pseudo color to differentiate between higher and lower regions.
- To save the DEM as a separate file, right-click on it, select
Save As, and choose the desired format.
Downloading SRTM DEM data using QGIS is a straightforward process. Once you’ve set up your NASA data web portal credentials, you can easily download DEMs for any region globally without ever leaving your QGIS project. Happy mapping!
Frequently questions about downloading SRTM DEM data using QGIS:
What is SRTM DEM data, and why is it important?
SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) DEM (Digital Elevation Model) data represents the Earth’s surface topography. It’s crucial for various geospatial analyses, including terrain modeling, flood risk assessment, and landscape planning.
Why should I download SRTM DEM data directly within QGIS instead of using external platforms?
Downloading directly within QGIS offers a seamless experience, eliminating the need to toggle between platforms or manually import/export data. It streamlines the workflow and enhances efficiency.
How do I install the SRTM Downloader plugin in QGIS?
Open QGIS, navigate to
Manage and Install Plugins, search for “SRTM Downloader”, and click install.
Are there any other plugins I need to install for this process?
Yes, it’s recommended to install the
Quick Map Services plugin to add a base map, which aids in specifying the download area.
Why is it necessary to have a base map before downloading the DEM data?
A base map provides geographic context, helping users accurately navigate and specify the area of interest for DEM data download.
What is the significance of setting the coordinate reference system to
EPSG 4326 (WGS 1984 Geographic Coordinate Reference System) ensures proper communication with the data source. It’s essential for capturing coordinates accurately and ensuring the downloaded data aligns correctly.
How do I specify the area for which I want to download the DEM data?
Zoom into your area of interest on the QGIS map. Use the zoom-in tool to refine and draw a rectangle around the desired area. The SRTM Downloader plugin will use this specified area for downloading.
What should I do if the SRTM Downloader prompts me for a username and password?
This means you need credentials from the NASA data web portal. First-time users must register on the portal. Once registered, use these credentials for all subsequent downloads.
How do I register on the NASA data web portal?
When prompted by the SRTM Downloader, click on the provided link to the NASA data web portal. Follow the registration process, which involves inputting necessary information. Once registered, you’ll receive a username and password.
Can I merge multiple DEM tiles into a single tile? If so, how?
Yes. In QGIS, go to
Miscellaneous, and select
Merge. Choose all the layers you want to merge and run the process. The result will be a single raster file.
How can I customize the appearance of the downloaded DEM data?
In QGIS, click on the DEM layer and go to properties. From there, you can change the color scheme, assign a color ramp, and make other visual adjustments.
Is there a way to save the DEM data in a different format or export it for use in other software?
Yes. Right-click on the DEM layer in QGIS, select
Save As, and choose your desired format.
Can I repeat this process for different areas without starting from scratch?
Absolutely. Simply zoom into a new area of interest in QGIS and follow the same steps to download the DEM data for that region.
Are there any limitations to the regions or areas I can download DEM data for using this method?
The SRTM DEM data covers most of the globe, but there might be some remote or restricted areas with limited data availability. However, for the vast majority of regions, data should be accessible.
What should I do if I encounter errors or issues during the download process?
Ensure your internet connection is stable. Double-check the specified area and coordinate the reference system. If issues persist, consider reaching out to QGIS communities or forums for troubleshooting.