Accuracy assessment of a global digital elevation model (DEM) is an important and challenging task primarily because of the difficulties and costs associated with securing a reliable and representative reference dataset. In this article, we report on the vertical accuracy assessment of theWorldDEM™, the latest global DEM using the synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) method, based on the German TanDEM-X mission data. For reference data we use vertical profiles along the centerline of 47 paved runways located in different areas around the world. Our accuracy statement is based on the analysis of discrepancies between the reference data and the corresponding vertical profiles extracted from the WorldDEM™ dataset. Since the runways are nearly flat and have homogenous surfaces, the observed discrepancies are mainly due to instrument-induced error. Therefore, the derived accuracy statement has a universal character, e.g., it is not biased by other error sources including target- or environment-induced errors. Our main conclusions are that the WorldDEM™ is the most accurate global DEM to date in terms of its vertical accuracy; it appears that the accuracy is spatially independent.
Becek, K., Koppe, W., & Kutoğlu, Ş. H. (2016). Evaluation of vertical accuracy of the WorldDEMTM using the runway method. Remote Sensing, 8(11). https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8110934