[gdal-dev] Converting contour lines (Shape files) into DEM

Christopher Barker Chris.Barker at noaa.gov
Mon Mar 29 12:28:44 EDT 2010

Even Rouault wrote:
> 2) Use gdal_rasterize to burn the contour lines.
> See http://gdal.org/gdal_rasterize.html
> 3) Fill the holes (the nodata values) with gdal_fillnodata.py.
> See http://gdal.org/gdal_fillnodata.html
> Now, the result should be usable with gdaldem.

well, yes, but it's likely to be pretty ugly -- it will represent the 
elevation as steps -- constant values between contours. If you have 
enough contour lines, and want a low-resolution DEM, that might be OK. 
However, you'll get much prettier results if you interpolate in some way 
to get a smoother result.

Unfortunately, interpolating contour lines well is not trivial -- I'd do 
some googling and see what you can find.

GRASS may have something to help you here, too.


Christopher Barker, Ph.D.

Emergency Response Division
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Chris.Barker at noaa.gov

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