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Accounting for uncertainty in DEMs from repeat topographic surveys: improved sediment budgets
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms (2010)
  • Joseph M. Wheaton, Utah State University
  • James Brasington
  • Stephen E. Darby
  • David Sear
Repeat topographic surveys are increasingly becoming more affordable, and possible at higher spatial resolutions and over greater spatial extents. Digital elevation models (DEMs) built from such surveys can be used to produce DEM of Difference (DoD) maps and estimate the net change in storage terms for morphological sediment budgets. While these products are extremely useful for monitoring and geomorphic interpretation, data and model uncertainties render them prone to misinterpretation. Two new methods are presented, which allow for more robust and spatially variable estimation of DEM uncertainties and propagate these forward to evaluate the consequences for estimates of geomorphic change. The first relies on a fuzzy inference system to estimate the spatial variability of elevation uncertainty in individual DEMs while the second approach modifies this estimate on the basis of the spatial coherence of erosion and deposition units. Both techniques allow for probabilistic representation of uncertainty on a cell-by-cell basis and thresholding of the sediment budget at a user-specified confidence interval...
  • Uncertainty,
  • topographic survey,
  • sediment budget,
  • DEM
Publication Date
February, 2010
Citation Information
2010. Wheaton JM, Brasington J, Darby SE† and Sear D†. 2009. Accounting for Uncertainty in DEMs from Repeat Topographic Surveys: Improved Sediment Budgets. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 35(2): 135-­‐156. DOI: 10.1002/esp.1886.2009.