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    Author(s): Sharon Clarke; Kelly Burnett
    Date: 2003
    Source: Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing. 69(12): 1367-1375
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.71 MB)


    Thirty-meter digital elevation models (DEMs) produced by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are widely available and commonly used in analyzing aquatic systems. However, these DEMs are of relatively coarse resolution, were inconsistently produced (i.e., Level 1 versus Level 2 DEMs), and lack drainage enforcement. Such issues may hamper efforts to accurately model streams, delineate hydrologic units (HUs), and classify slope. Thus, the Coastal Landscape Analysis and Modeling Study (CLAMS) compared streams, HUs, and slope classes generated from sample 10-meter DEMs. We found that (1) drainage enforcement improved the spatial accuracy of streams and HU boundaries more than did increasing resolution from 30 meters to 10 meters, particularly in flatter terrain; (2) streams and HU boundaries were generally more accurate when delineated with Level 2 than with Level 1 30-meter DEMs; and (3) the 10-meter DE-DEMs better represented both higher and lower slope classes. These findings prompted us to have 10-meter DE-DEMs, and should benefit others interested in using DEMs for aquatic analyses.

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Clarke, Sharon; Burnett, Kelly. 2003. Comparison of digital elevation models for aquatic data development. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing. 69(12): 1367-1375

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