Global Terrain Data – FABDEM+

The new standard for a globally consistent and accurate digital elevation model

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Global Terrain Data - FABDEM

Introduction FABDEM+ offers a seamless blend of FABDEM and enhanced local data to provide best-in-class elevation information for every location in the world.

Comprising consistent elevation data and comprehensive metadata it ensures access to the most accurate terrain information. Available at 1 arcsecond (~30 m) worldwide and up to 1/3 arcsecond (~10 m) in areas where we have enhanced data, its capability to provide ‘bare earth’ elevations makes it suitable for a wide range of use cases including the planning of linear assets, mapping natural perils, and creating artificial digital environments.

FABDEM+ key features



LiDAR: 30+ countries, 10 million km².

FABDEM: Global excluding Greenland and Antarctica.


Digital terrain data

Removal of forests and buildings to represent bare earth elevation data using peer-reviewed and openly published methods.

Learn more about our terrain data methodology.



Information on native resolution, date of capture, source data type and certainty rank to provide full transparency.



—~30 m (1 arcsecond) global
—~10 m (⅓ arcsecond) data available for areas with enhanced data, including the US.



Underpinned by FABDEM which has been independently validated and ranked as the best-in-class global digital terrain dataset in two separate studies.

Find the validation here.



Available via API, Fathom Portal, on premise or via a partner.

How can I access Fathom’s data?

Webinar: What’s next for US terrain data?

Watch our webinar on demand to explore the next evolution in US terrain data – FABDEM+.


Access the best of FABDEM and local terrain data, in this seamlessly blended digital terrain model that combines thousands of data sources into one cohesive product. FABDEM+ offers users ​​consistent elevation data that is enriched with an additional layer of information, Metadata, to ensure access to the most recent terrain information. 

This multi-source data provides a single source of information for those who need to define ground elevations, anywhere in the world. Validation published in Environmental Research Communications showed the data underpinning FABDEM is more accurate than other available global DEMs. Further validation has been conducted by independent scientists, who ranked FABDEM as the best 1 arcsecond global DEM.

In addition, when compared with other global DEMs, FABDEM’s finer spatial resolution allows smaller topographic features such as narrow flow pathways to be represented, making it a critical component within GIS, digital twin projects, engineering, infrastructure planning, modeling natural perils and earthworks. 

Discover where Fathom’s terrain data sits in our full Product Stack

FABDEM+ coverage

    Coverage of FABDEM+ globally


    By combining FABDEM with available LiDAR, Fathom offers the entire world at 30 meter resolution, with 10 meter resolution data available in regions where enhanced data exists.


    Over 30 countries benefit from LiDAR within the digital terrain model (DTM), though at varying degrees of coverage. In total LiDAR comprises over 10 million km². Where LiDAR is unavailable, FABDEM fills in the gaps.


    LiDAR is focused in regions of high population and covers more than 90% of the population in many countries including Hong Kong, Japan and New Zealand.

    FABDEM+ provides digital terrain data for the entire world, excluding Greenland and Antarctica.

    Coverage of FABDEM+ in North America

    North America

    LiDAR available within FABDEM+ covers 90% of the population in US and Canada.


    For the US specifically, 79% of lower land area is covered by LiDAR, which includes 94% of buildings.

    Coverage of FABDEM+ in Europe

    Land coverage of LiDAR

    FABDEM+ comprises enhanced LiDAR data for >20 European countries.

    Population coverage of LiDAR

    Across the countries represented, LiDAR covers ~90% of the total population.

    Coverage of FABDEM

    Where LiDAR is unavailable, Fathom uses data from its digital terrain model, FABDEM.

    Accessing Global Terrain Data

    Fathom API

    Gain seamless access to Fathom’s entire Global Terrain Data or select a specific region using our cloud-based API.

    Fathom Portal

    Visualize the data via Fathom’s interactive in-house platform. If you are interested in this solution, you can trial the platform using Fathom sample data for free. Request a demo here.

    Direct provision

    Integrate your terrain data with your internal systems and host the data on-site, through the provision of GeoTIFF files.


    Fathom’s data can seamlessly integrate with a wide range of third party platforms. Get in touch to enquire about a platform or learn more about our existing partners here.

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    As part of its launch, Fathom has published a peer-reviewed paper exploring the methodologies underpinning FABDEM, as well as validating it against other available digital elevation models.

    Hawker et al. 2022. A 30 m global map of elevation with forests and buildings removed.
    Global Terrain Data - FABDEM+

    FABDEM is based on COP-DEM GLO-30 with a correction algorithm applied to remove artifacts, and is ranked as the top DTM on the market. FABDEM has been extensively and independently validated and found to be more accurate than COP-DEM GLO-30 in both forested and built-up areas, roughly halving the mean vertical error in the former regions and reducing it by around one-third in the latter.

    Bielski et al. 2023. Novel approach for ranking DEMs. TMSG DEMIX Working Group, Cornell University

    The FABDEM digital elevation model has been independently validated against SRTM, MERIT, and the Copernicus-30 dataset. This study determined that FABDEM is the current best-in-class data product.

    Marsh et al. 2023. Validation of FABDEM, a global bare-earth elevation model, against UAV-lidar derived elevation

    Recent research

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    Read more
    Research Paper

    Hyper-resolution PCR-GLOBWB: opportunities and challenges from refining model spatial resolution to 1 km over the European continent

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    Research Paper

    Urbanizing the floodplain: global changes of imperviousness in flood-prone areas

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    Research Paper

    Assessing flooding impact to riverine bridges: an integrated analysis

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    Research Paper

    Increased population exposure to Amphan-scale cyclones under future climates

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    Research Paper

    Flood Inundation Prediction

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    Research Paper

    Design flood estimation for global river networks based on machine learning models