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Digital elevation modelling using ASTER stereo imagery

by Erickwabena Forkuo
Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering ()


Digital elevation model (DEM) in recent times has become an integral part of national spatial data infrastructure of many countries world-wide due to its invaluable importance. Although DEMs are mostly generated from contours maps, stereo aerial photographs and air-borne and terrestrial laser scanning, the stereo interpretation and auto-correlation from satellite image stereo-pairs such as with SPOT, IRS, and relatively new ASTER imagery is also an effective means of producing DEM data. In this study, terrain elevation data were derived by applying photogrammetric process to ASTER stereo imagery. Also, the quality ofDEMs produced from ASTER stereo imagery was analysed by comparing it with DEM produced from topographic map at a scale of 1:50,000. While analyzing the vertical accuracy of the generated ASTER DEM, fifty ground control points were extracted from the map and overlaid on the DEM. Results indicate that a root-mean-square error in elevation of 14 m was achieved with ASTER stereo image data of good quality. The horizontal accuracy obtained from the ground control points was 14.77, which is within the acceptable range of 7m to 25 m. The generated (15 m) DEM was compared with a 20m, 25m, and a 30 m pixel DEM to the original map. In all, the results proved that, the 15 m DEM conform to the original map DEM than the others. Overall, this analysis proves that, the generated digital terrain model, DEM is acceptable.

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