DTED -- Military Elevation Data

GDAL supports DTED Levels 0, 1, and 2 elevation data for read access. Elevation data is returned as 16 bit signed integer. Appropriate projection and georeferencing information is also returned. A variety of header fields are returned dataset level metadata.

Read Issues

Read speed

Elevation data in DTED files are organized per columns. This data organization doesn't fit very well with some scanline oriented algorithms and can cause slowdowns, especially for DTED Level 2 datasets. By defining GDAL_DTED_SINGLE_BLOCK=TRUE, a whole DTED dataset will be considered as a single block. The first access to the file will be slow, but further accesses will be much quicker. Only use that option if you need to do processing on a whole file.

Georeferencing Issues

The DTED specification (MIL-PRF-89020B) states that horizontal datum shall be the World Geodetic System (WGS 84). The vertical datum is defined as EGM96, or EPSG:5773. However, there are still people using old data files georeferenced in WGS 72. A header field indicates the horizontal datum code, so we can detect and handle this situation.

Configuration options

This paragraph lists the configuration options that can be set to alter the default behaviour of the DTED driver.

Checksum Issues

The default behaviour of the DTED driver is to ignore the checksum while reading data from the files. However, you may specify the environment variable DTED_VERIFY_CHECKSUM=YES if you want the checksums to be verified. In some cases, the checksum written in the DTED file is wrong (the data producer did a wrong job). This will be reported as a warning. If the checksum written in the DTED file and the checksum computed from the data do not match, an error will be issued.

Creation Issues

The DTED driver does support creating new files, but the input data must be exactly formatted as a Level 0, 1 or 2 cell. That is the size, and bounds must be appropriate for a cell.

See Also: