enter image description here

I want to be able to draw some terrain like in the picture attached(minus the aircraft) and have the XYZ Cartesian coordinates of the points of the terrain returned to me. I need the data for experimental purposes and DEM files from NASA are not in XYZ format. Is there any software to help me do this?

  • What format are DEM files in? – Natsfan Jul 11 '17 at 14:26
  • Do you want real data? Or just data based on whatever you draw and your own definition of x,y,z... – Natsfan Sep 9 '17 at 18:57

What you need is a Geographic Information System (GIS) such as QGIS, (Quantum GIS), possibly with the GRASS plug-ins.

QGIS is:

  • A cross-platform free and open-source desktop geographic information system
  • GNU GPL licenced
  • Can import data in a number of formats.


  • Geographic Resources Analysis Support System
  • Free and open-source software
  • Cross Platform
  • under the GNU General Public License
  • Adds a large number of import formats
  • Also has command line/shell interfaces

GRASS GIS contains over 350 modules to render maps and images on monitor and paper; manipulate raster and vector data including vector networks; process multispectral image data; and create, manage, and store spatial data

You will have some learning to do but there are active and helpful online communities available.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.