OpenDTM-DE, a free Terrain Model for Germany


- GeoTiff with 1m resolution

- Contours with 10 m interval (shape file)


In Germany, the task of creating terrain models lies with the federal states. This has been solved in very different ways. Fortunately, all federal states now (June 2024) offer freely available high-resolution terrain models (see table 1 below).

A nationwide data set (DGM200) from the Bundesamt für Kartographie und Geodäsie (BKG) exists, but only with a low resolution of 200 metres. The EuroDEM is another low-resolution terrain model with a resolution of 2 arc-seconds (approximately 60 m).

As the BKG will not be creating a high-resolution terrain model for the whole of Germany in the near future (mail 03/2024), this project was initiated.

The first step is to process and intersect the available high-resolution terrain models.

horizontal reference system EPSG 25832
vertical reference system

EPSG 7837 - DHHN2016

resolution [m] 1
tile size [km] 40

Tab. 1: Parameters of the OpenDTM-DE

As part of the implementation of the EU Open Data Directive, geodata is now (June 2024) available as "open data" in all federal states.

State Status Resolution [m] License Dataset Comment
Baden-Württemberg (Baden-Wuerttemberg)    1 dl-de/by-2-0 Link Download 6/2024
Bayern (Bavaria)    1 CC-BY-4.0 Link Download 4/2024
Berlin    ✘ 1 dl-de/by-2-0 Source: EPSG:25833
Brandenburg    1 dl-de/by-2-0 Link WCS Source: EPSG:25833
Bremen    1 CC-BY-4.0 Link  
Hamburg    1 dl-de/by-2-0 Link  
Hessen (Hesse)    1 Link Download 6/2024
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)    1 CC-BY-4.0 Link Source: EPSG:25833
Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony)      1 CC-BY-4.0 Link Cloud-Optimized GeoTiff (COG)
Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia)    1 dl-zero-de Link  
Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate)    1 dl-de/by-2-0 Link  
Saarland    1 dl-de/by-2-0 Link WebCoverageService (WCS)
Sachsen (Saxony)    1 dl-de/by-2-0 Link

Source: EPSG:25833

Download 5/2024

Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt)    2 dl-de/by-2-0 Link  
Schleswig-Holstein    1 CC-BY-4.0 Link  
Thüringen (Thuringia)    1 dl-de/by-2-0 Link

Download 4/2024

The data set from 2014-2019 serves as the basis. Wherever possible, the more recent data set from 2020-2025 was used. The specific coverage at the time of download can be found in these overview.

Tab. 2: Overview of the existing free terrain models of the federal states with licence, resolution and link. A green tick under Status means that this data set has already been processed. An orange tick means that it is currently being processed.

Unfortunately, the different free licences sometimes lead to incompatibilities. You can read more about this here: Datenlizenzen für Open Government Data - Rechtliches Kurzgutachten (German only). The decision by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to place the dataset under the "Data licence Germany - Zero - Version 2.0" is very positive. This is the only way to guarantee maximum application possibilities.


Coverage Image

In the event that the data sets overlap, a coverage image is available which shows which layer is on top (see figure above).

As soon as the federal states are ready, the neighbouring states will be processed. However, the possibilities for harmonising the heights here are limited by the different vertical reference systems (see EU-DEM Background).