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Providing the world’s most accurate worldwide 3D digital map, AW3D®

Relevant SDGs


Topography of hard to reach places displayed accurately using satellite imagery data

NTT Data offers a 3D map, AW3D* that displays terrain around the world in five-meter resolution, which is currently the most accurate in the world, jointly with the Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan (RESTEC).

AW3D is a public-private partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Despite rising worldwide demand for geospatial data for 3D digital maps used for basic maps and prevention of damage from tsunami, floods and other disasters, there are limitations on the areas for which 3D maps can be prepared by airplane or people given cost and time constraints. As a result, RESTEC and NTT Data began rolling out the worldwide 3D topography map, AW3D in February 2014 using imagery taken from JAXA’s advanced land observing satellite Daichi, launched in January 2006. In April 2016, work was completed on data for the entire world. Broad area covering satellite imagery makes it possible for accurate data to be obtained even for hard to reach areas, which expands the possibilities for use in a broad range of fields, including disaster prevention.

AW3D has received strong praise from outside NTT. This includes being recognized with the Prime Minister’s Award at the 2nd Space Development and Use Awards in March 2016 for contributing greatly to raising public awareness about the use of Japanese space development, and receiving the Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun Award of Excellence at the 2016 Nikkei Superior Products and Services Awards held on January 4, 2017.

* AW3D: an acronym for Advanced World 3D map.

Mt. Fuji as it appears in AW3D

Mt. Fuji as it appears in AW3D

Being utilized by more than 300 projects in 70 countries, mainly in the developing world

The five-meter resolution of AW3D is equivalent to the 1/25000 scale maps created by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Currently, there is no other worldwide 3D map available with this high degree of accuracy. AW3D can be utilized in various applications, and for this reason there has been a growing number of requests not only from private-sector companies, but also national research institutes and international institutions. In particular, AW3D is often being used in fields such as infrastructure development, disaster prevention, and resource development in emerging countries that do not have detailed maps. Already, AW3D is being used by more than 300 projects in nearly 70 countries around the world.

Where AW3D is Being Used

Field Country Details
Disaster prevention/risk reduction Vietnam Detection of locations with a high landslide danger along arterial roads
Disaster prevention/risk reduction Nepal Hazard map for the long-term disaster recovery plan following the earthquake
Disaster prevention/risk reduction Indonesia Disaster mitigation by predicting volcanic ejecta following an eruption
Infrastructure Japan and abroad Enhanced land surveys for wind turbine sites
Resources Tanzania Underground water usage planning
Health Nigeria/Niger Epidemic countermeasures
Urban planning Japan and abroad Selection of wireless base station locations

For example, Vietnam faced issues with landslide countermeasures, but after using AW3D, the country successfully located more than 1,000 potential hazard areas in an efficient manner. In Nepal, AW3D was used to create a hazard map for the country’s post-earthquake long-term recovery plan. In Tanzania, AW3D helped to streamline underground water resource development, which faced difficulties in establishing locations ideal for probing. In Nigeria and Niger, AW3D was used for epidemic countermeasures by correctly identifying areas exposed to sewage inflows.

Example where AW3D was used to create a landslide topography map and detect high risk areas along arterial roads (Vietnam)

Example where AW3D was used to create a landslide topography map and detect high risk areas along arterial roads (Vietnam)

Courtesy of: Professor Toyohiko Miyagi, Department of Regional Design (Course of Human Informatics), Tohoku Gakuin University

Also launched a 3D map with up to 0.5-meter resolution that can display fine topography including individual trees

Starting in May 2015, we began providing a high resolution version 3D map using satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe, a satellite imagery company based in the United States. This map provides up to 0.5-meter resolution, which makes it possible to display fine topography that includes buildings and structures mainly in urban areas.

We will continue to find new markets and create new services worldwide through the provision of 3D map services for a broad range of fields, including disaster prevention, resources, urban planning, electricity, and telecommunication services, among others.

Downtown Tokyo as shown in AW3D
Downtown Tokyo as shown in AW3D

* AW3D is a registered trademark of NTT Data and the Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan.

Major Reports

  • NTT Group Environmental Activities
  • NTT Annual Report 2020

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