Elevation and Depth

Elevation and Depth is the measurement of the Earth’s surface (wet or dry) above or below a vertical datum to obtain either the height of the land or a bathymetric depth. Elevation and Depth information data is collected using a range of sensors; including laser, sound navigation and ranging (sonar), radio detection and ranging (radar), optical remote sensing and survey techniques to derive spot heights, raster surfaces, contours and digital models of terrain.

FSDF datasets in this theme

Theme Purpose

Elevation and Depth provides an authoritative digital representation of the Earth’s surface enabling evidence based decision making, policy development and an essential reference to other foundation datasets.

Elevation and Depth underpins:

Safe hydrographic, aeronautical and road navigation.
Climate Science, including Climate Change Adaptation.
Emergency management and natural hazard risk assessment.
Environmental, including water management.
Engineering projects and infrastructure development.
Definition of maritime and administrative boundaries.
Defence and national security.
Natural resource exploration and exploitation.


Theme Current Status 
Jurisdictions acquire high resolution elevation data, usually using LiDAR, and usually in parallel with aerial photography acquisition.
Theme Future Status 
Short term objectives Continued availability of existing national coverage datasets at existing or similar resolutions and accuracy. In addition, the development of an open, fit-for-purpose coherent national DEM with a minimum accuracy of 1m in populated areas and coastal zones and 5m in unpopulated areas. To achieve this, the following will need to be determined: a stock take of existing datasets, economic analysis and justification, funding secured. Engage Industry on validation of use cases for this service Medium term objectives All national information products will be available under open access arrangements (for example, by CCBY) at zero cost.

Theme Coverage

Complete, current and continuous coverage of Australia excluding external territories