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Where the contour map was once the tool of choice to determine the elevation of amywhere on a given map, the age of digital cartography and mapping brings the digital elevation model - which is a raster, or pixel-based method of displaying elevation data. Depending on the altitude of our unmanned aircraft over gorund level at the time of image capture, we can generate accurate elevation models of areas from the size of a backyard to large ranches, to a resolution of a quarter-inch. 

These models can be useful when input to a geographical information system, to determine characteristics of a parcel of land, including slope, aspect, and elevation. This intelligence can be extremely valuable in planning land development, whether for building, conservation, ranching, or agriculture.

The digital elevation model has two main types - the digital surface model, which accurately models the terrain with all objects upon it (such as buildings and vegetation) and the digital terrain model, which portrays the terrain as "bare-earth", with all surface objects removed.