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Publicly available Digital Elevation Models (DEM) derived from various space-based platforms (Satellite/Space Shuttle Endeavour) have had a tremendous impact on the quantification of landscape characteristics, and the related processes and products. The accuracy of elevation data from six major public domain satellite-derived Digital Elevation Models (a 30 m grid size—ASTER GDEM version 3 (Ast30), SRTM version 3 (Srt30), CartoDEM version V3R1 (Crt30)—and 90 m grid size—SRTM version 4.1 (Srt90), MERIT (MRT90), and TanDEM-X (TDX90)), as well as the improvement in accuracy achieved by applying a correction (linear fit) using Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) estimates at Ground Control Points (GCPs) is examined in detail. The study area is a hard rock terrain that overall is flat-like with undulating and uneven surfaces (IIT (ISM) Campus and its environs) where the statistical analysis (corrected and uncorrected DEMs), correlation statistics and statistical tests (for elevation and slope), the impact of resampling methods, and the optimum number of GCPs for reduction of error in order to use it in further applications have been presented in detail. As the application of DGPS data at GCPs helps in the substantial reduction of bias by the removal of systematic error, it is recommended that DEMs may be corrected using DGPS before being used in any scientific studies.


This article was originally published in Remote Sensing, volume 14, in 2022. (3762 kB)
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