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A New Quality Validation of Global Digital Elevation Models Freely Available in China

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Zhenhong Li


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Global DEMs are widely used in the study of natural hazards and environmental change on a global scale. This paper focuses on validation of the most widely used and newly released global DEMs (SRTM v4.1, NASA SRTM v3, SRTMX and ASTER GDEM v2) in China. We use independent and precise ground GPS observations to assess their absolute accuracies. The SRTMX DEM performs best with a height RMSE of 9.7 m, whilst the RMSE of the ASTER GDEM2 is slightly better than that of the SRTM v4.1, and SRTM v3 in these regions have the largest RMSE of 16.6 m. However, systematic negative bias still exists in all the global DEMs. Results of the raster-based comparisons between the DEMs are dependent on the knowledge of vegetation type, density and structure to a large extent as well as accurate co-registration. Slope comparisons exhibit a hierarchical slope difference of about 2 degree between the SRTMX DEM, ASTER GDEM2 and SRTM C-band DEM (v4.1 and v3). This paper provides the first direct evidence and measurement of the product quality of SRTMX and SRTM v3 DEM in China and also offers a benchmark for the future evaluation of following global DEM products.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Li P, Li Z, Muller J-P, Shi C, Liu J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Survey Review

Year: 2016

Volume: 48

Issue: 351

Pages: 409-420

Online publication date: 30/03/2016

Acceptance date: 18/05/2015

ISSN (print): 0039-6265

ISSN (electronic): 1752-2706

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.1179/1752270615Y.0000000039


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Funder referenceFunder name
10665ESA-MOST DRAGON-3 project
14-02-02Open Research Fund Program of the Key Laboratory of Geospace Environment and Geodesy, Ministry of Education, China
10607ESA-MOST DRAGON-3 project
443570/NNS/INTRoyal Society of Edinburgh (RSE)
443570/NNS/INTNational Natural Science Foundation of China (NNCFS)
2042014kf0066Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities
41231174National Natural Science Foundation of China
41274049National Natural Science Foundation of China
41325015National Natural Science Foundation of China
NE/K010794/1Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) LICS project