A high-accuracy map of global terrain elevations

TitleA high-accuracy map of global terrain elevations
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsYamazaki, Dai, Daiki Ikeshima, Ryunosuke Tawatari, Tomohiro Yamaguchi, Fiachra O'Loughlin, Jeffery C. Neal, Christopher C. Sampson, Shinjiro Kanae, and Paul D. Bates
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Pagination5844 - 5853
Date Published06/2017

Terrain elevation maps are fundamental input data for manygeoscience studies. While very precise Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) based on airborne measurementsare available in developed regions of the world, most areas of the globe rely on spaceborne DEMs which stillinclude non-negligible height errors for geoscience applications. Here we developed a new high accuracymap of global terrain elevations at 3" resolution (~90m at the equator) by eliminating multiple errorcomponents from existing spaceborne DEMs. The height errors included in the original DEMs were separatedfrom actual topography signals and removed using a combination of multiple satellite datasets and fi lteringtechniques. After error removal, global land areas mapped with ±2m or better accuracy increased from 39%to 58%. Significant improvements were found, especially in flat regions such as river floodplains. Heredetected height errors were larger than actual topography variability, and following error removal landscapesfeatures such as river networks and hill-valley structures at last became clearly represented. The developedhigh accuracy topography map will expand the possibility of geoscience applications that require highaccuracy elevation data such as terrain landscape analysis, flood inundation modelling, soil erosion analysis,and wetland carbon cycle studies.

Short TitleGeophys. Res. Lett.
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