Usage Guidelines


Important information about license, acknowledgement and use in academic journals or the web.

NRO Electro-Optical Commercial Layer License

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Electro-Optical Commercial Layer (EOCL) license was developed to accommodate the desire to share commercial satellite imagery and derived Digital Dlevation Models (DEMs) across U.S. Government agencies, contractors, and other entities supporting U.S. Government interests.

The license does apply to imagery and imagery derived Digital Elevation Models produced from the licensed imagery. However, the license does not apply to other derived imagery products and publicly available ArcticDEM and Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA) products.

To summarize, optical imagery and stereo-derived elevation models may not be shared publicly without National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) approval.

Sharing and Copying DEMs

Like the commercial satellite imagery, stereo-derived elevation models produced from Maxar imagery may not be shared.

However, PGC offers polar stereo-derived DEMs (ArcticDEM and REMA) that are free and publicly available. Custom requests of a new DEM to be created by PGC are supported to researchers and contractors with the proper funding.

External Use

Stereo-derived elevation models require approval for public release (unless those available from ArcticDEM and REMA products). Proper acknowledgement to PGC should also be provided when used in  research publications.

PGC invites you to notify us when you use elevation models externally. We not only include it in our reporting, but also like to know about your interesting science!

Please refer to the PGC Acknowledgement Policy for a detailed explanation of how to cite figures, illustrations, and graphics that contain elevation models that PGC produced.


In this Guide, we’ve covered:

  • Stereo-derived elevation models outside of ArcticDEM and REMA are copyright
  • Stereo-derived elevation models cannot be used freely and require NGA approval for public release
  • PGC’s requirements for acknowledgement

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