This paper reports the operational implementation of radargrammetry for the production of Digital Elevation Models, or DEMs, to areas of rugged topography. The Southern Ethiopian Highlands east of lake Abaya, with elevations between ca. 900 and 4,400 meters, were mapped. Currently available topographical maps are of insufficient quality to assist a study of the area's unique land use system, which is arguably the oldest and most durably sustained land use system of the planet. Without external inputs or terracing, the land use system maintains soil fertility and staves-off hunger. It has been doing so during the past 30 years of unrest and civil war, in one of the most crowded regions of Ethiopia. However, the central role of the staple crop enset within the land use system and its production cycles has hardly been the subject of scientific study. Understanding of this system is most likely to be relevant to enhancement of health and productivity in many regions of the world. Upon the request of the Agricultural Bureau for Gedeo Zone, geocoded and georeferenced topographical maps with accuracy of 20 meters (x, y and z) were made by PRIVATEERS N.V. on the basis of RADARSAT multi-incidence (S2/S7) images. These maps are now incorporated as the basic layer within the Bureau's GIS system. Map production techniques proved to be cost effective and relevant; especially for mountainous areas with poor accessability where correct geographic information is not available. The ease of orientation proved of invaluable help to rationalize execution and planning of cost-effective environmental field work and reporting.