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Report on Performance of DEM Generation Technologies in Coastal Environments
Clive Fraser and Mehdi Ravanbaksh Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information
CRCSI is established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program
Table of Contents Page Executive Summary 1. Introduction 2. Project Overview 3. Overview of DEM Generation Technologies 3.1 Technology Options 3.2 Accuracy Considerations 3.3 LiDAR 3.4 Photogrammetry 3.5 IfSAR 4. Project Work Plan 5. Test Area Locations 6. Specifications for DEM Data Sets 7. Benchmark Elevation Data 7.1 Permanent Survey Marks 7.2 GPS Survey of Height Profiles 7.3 Comparison of GPS and Ground Survey Elevations 7.4 GPS Heighting versus LiDAR DEMs 8. Analysis of Different DEMs Against LiDAR Reference DEM 8.1 Discrepancies in Elevation 8.2 SRTM DEM 8.3 SPOT5 DEM 8.4 Topo DEM (from 1:25,000 map data) 8.5 Airborne IfSAR DEM 8.6 ADS40 DEM 9. Impact of Land Cover on DEM Accuracy 9.1 Urban areas 9.2 Open Rural Areas 9.3 Forest/Bushland Areas 9.4 Mixed Coastal Land Cover 10. Influence of Terrain Slope 11. Conclusions 3 5 5 5 5 6 7 8 8 9 11 15 16 16 16 16 20 23 23 26 28 28 28 31 31 31 35 36 38 39 40
Executive Summary Reliable digital elevation models (DEMs) are vital to better understand and prepare for the impacts of sea level rise and storm surges caused by climate change. A number of satellite and airborne remote sensing technologies can be used to generate digital elevation models, however each technology possesses its own advantages and limitations. The primary aim of this project has been to evaluate the performance of different technologies for the generation of digital elevation models, specifically in coastal environments. The accuracy characteristics of six such technologies have been assessed within four test areas on the mid north coast of New South Wales. These test sites were chosen as being representative of low-lying coastal zones of differing land cover, topography and geomorphology. The DEM technologies investigated were: Airborne LiDAR (airborne laser scanning) Airborne IfSAR (interferometric synthetic aperture radar) SPOT5 HRS satellite imagery 1-second SRTM-based national DEM Aerial photography: o with the DEM sourced from existing 1:25,000 digital topographic mapping o with the DEM derived from recent ADS40 digital imagery An objective of the project was to look beyond differences in vertical resolution, cost and productivity, and to consider the overall performance of different DEMs in the context of fulfilling anticipated requirements for fit-for-purpose elevation data in Australia’s vulnerable coastal zones. Outcomes of the project can be used to inform the development of future guidelines covering optimal DEM generation technologies for programs such as UDEM and the National Digital Elevation Framework (NEDF). Recent forecasts of sea level rise are in the range of 0.5m to upwards of 1m over the remainder of this century. Digital elevation modelling in support of prediction and monitoring of the inundation impacts of sea level rise and storm surges will therefore require vertical resolution at the sub-metre and even decimetre level. A principal finding of this project has been to reinforce the prevailing view that LiDAR is the optimal DEM generation technology for this application. While DEMs produced photogrammetrically from aerial imagery can match the vertical resolution of LiDAR, namely around 10cm, they are invariably more expensive and exhibit significant shortcomings in bare-earth elevation modelling if automated classification and filtering are solely relied upon. Beyond highlighting the recognized superiorities of LiDAR, this project has identified DEM characteristics that are perhaps not as widely appreciated, but are nevertheless important in the context of producing accurate bare-earth DEMs of coastal terrain. One of these concerns the accuracy gap between LiDAR DEMs and those derived from airborne IfSAR and aerial photography. Comparing LiDAR accuracy (10cm) to IfSAR and ADS40 accuracy (50100cm), one would expect LiDAR DEMs to be at least 5 times better. However the difference are accentuated by shortcomings in the automated classification and filtering of both vegetation and, to a lesser extent, man-made structures, within the process of producing a bare-earth DEM from the latter two technologies. Multiple-return LiDAR on the other hand displays significant advantages by way of last-pulse ground definition, which cannot be
matched in densely vegetated areas by radar and photogrammetry techniques, except through skill-intensive and expensive manual editing processes. The results obtained for DEM performance in open areas, largely free of trees and buildings, highlighted the fact that distinctions in DEM accuracy are as much due to different terrain and land cover, and consequently to filtering, as to differences in the basic metric resolution of DEM technologies. In the case of open pasture, sub-metre accuracy was obtained for the SRTM DEM while the 1:25,000 mapping, the IfSAR DEM and the aerial imagery DEM all displayed sub-half metre accuracy. Although the accuracy of all these lower-resolution DEMs exceeded specifications, they are nevertheless still not likely to fulfill requirements for fit-for-purpose high-resolution elevation models for decision support and risk analysis associated with sea level rise.
The mid-resolution SPOT DEM (derived from approximately 5m resolution stereoscopic SPOT5 HRS satellite imagery). the work plan was extended to also encompass analysis of DEMs derived from the following sources: Photogrammetrically derived DEMs from digital aerial imagery. generated from these four data sources. Overview of DEM Generation Technologies 3. The quality of DEMs is a function not only of the data acquisition and subsequent data processing. Results will therefore inform the development of guidelines covering optimal DEM generation technologies for vulnerable coastal zones. and specifically automatically produced DEMs from the Leica ADS40 3-line scanning system. The focus of the analyses required to evaluate the performance of different Digital Elevation Model (DEM) technologies has been upon detailed assessments of the heighting accuracy produced by six DEM generation technologies within four test areas representing typical low-lying Australian coastal environments. but also of the characteristics of the terrain being mapped. and in cases DSMs (digital surface models). and also their cost-benefit ratios in relation to producing fit-for-purpose elevation models for coastal assessments. 2. especially in regard to topography and vegetation. the data having been generated over several decades. Outcomes of the project will provide an increased understanding of the characteristics of different elevation data technologies and how well they perform in Australian coastal environments. DEM data from current 1:25. work plan. Introduction This report summarises the objectives.000 topographic mapping. Results will also be of benefit to producers of DEMs. rural and forest. and to the presence of cities and urban land cover. In addition to comparing DEMs. conduct and outcomes of the project Performance of DEM Generation Technologies in Coastal Environments. DEMs produced from different imaging and ranging sensors need to be analysed in order to better understand their characteristics and accuracy. High-resolution airborne IfSAR. Project Overview The objective of this project has been to investigate the performance of different DEM generation technologies within a range of coastal environments. particularly to those producing elevation models under the National Digital Elevation Framework (NEDF) and UDEM.1. originally from manual stereo-compilation of analog 5 .1 Technology Options It was initially envisaged that the research would investigate the accuracy capabilities of four categories of DEMs/DEM generation technologies. The new national Australian mid-resolution SRTM 1 DEM (derived from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission IfSAR data). with land cover types including urban. which formed a research project under the Urban Digital Elevation Modelling in High Priority Regions Program(UDEM). namely: Airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging technology). 3.
it is still possible to infer to some degree the overall performance of these two technologies from the results obtained for the SPOT5 HRS and airborne IfSAR DEMs. 2011. In the absence of PRISM and TanDEM-X data. Prior to describing the methodology and workflow of the project. in the IfSAR case. 3. and in the case of LiDAR and photogrammetry it can vary according to project design requirements. TanDEM-X is anticipated to produce vertical accuracies at the 2m level as opposed to the 0. Also ALOS PRISM DEMs should display higher overall accuracy than those from SPOT5 HRS. However.2 Accuracy Considerations Associated with each DEM technology is an accuracy specification. DEM data from six of the above technologies was successfully sourced for the project. for example as a consequence of incomplete filtering of above-ground features in the DSM-to-DEM conversion process. This is generally expressed as a bound. The considerable variation in vertical resolution needs to be kept in mind when comparing the merits of different DEM generation options. of Lands). since DEM accuracy is a function of both sensor and topographic/land cover characteristics. The figure shows representative 1-sigma accuracy bounds (68% confidence level) for each of the six DEM technologies. The project team was unable to source both ALOS PRISM and TanDEM-X DEM data. airborne IfSAR and Topo DEM data was made available by LPMA (NSW Dept. it is useful to recall the accuracy associated with each DEM technology and salient characteristics of the DEM sources considered. which can be local. Photogrammetrically derived DEMs from 3-line ALOS PRISM satellite imagery. 6 . Another important aspect related to DEM quality is the presence or absence of height bias. and their purpose is to highlight the order of magnitude and more difference between the representative 15cm vertical accuracy of LiDAR and the 8-9m accuracy of the SPOT5 HRS and SRTM DEMs.aerial imagery and subsequently from digitisation of the resulting contour maps. with commercial operations not anticipated to commence for several months. since PRISM has double the spatial resolution and 3line scanner geometry.15cm. but it is initially useful to appreciate the range of accuracy anticipated.5-1m expected accuracy for airborne IfSAR DEMs. More will be said in the following paragraphs about the accuracy specifications for each of the DEM technologies considered in this investigation. and Geoscience Australia supplied the SPOT5 and SRTM DEMs. In the case of tandem-X. it may be inaccurate by the extent of the bias. as a consequence of systematic errors in sensor positioning and orientation. of let us say a standard error (1-sigma value) of +/. Through reference to Figure 1 the reader can visualize that whereas a DEM may have high precision. IfSAR derived DEMS from the TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X satellite radar system. or large-area. This elevation model is referred to throughout this report as the Topo DEM. LiDAR. which lessened the imperative to examine this DEM data source. The bounds shown are indicative only. respectively. ADS40. this range being shown in Figure 1. The ALOS satellite unfortunately ceased to operate in late April. the system is still within its initial commissioning phase. which is indicated by the dashed line in the figure. These are briefly summarized in the following sections.
Representative 1-sigma vertical accuracy bounds for DEM technologies. LiDAR stands alone in most practical respects as the most accurate and comprehensive means to produce highest resolution DEMs of coastal environments. it can be safely assumed that a good number of the last returns will be from bare earth. where the first return of a pulse indicates the highest point encountered and the last the lowest point. Whereas it might not be certain from where in the canopy the first pulse was reflected. and it can be operated ‘locally’. In practice. LIDAR has the ability to ‘see through’ all but thick vegetation. This greatly simplifies the DSM-to-DEM conversion process in vegetated areas. Moreover. day or night.3 LiDAR Airborne laser scanning or LiDAR is today the clear ‘technology of choice’ for the generation of high-resolution DEMs with post spacings of of 1-3m. it is generally not economical to opt for photogrammetry over LiDAR for DEM generation at vertical resolutions of 10-20cm. The advantages of LiDAR centre upon its relatively high-accuracy of generally 10-15cm in height and around 1/2000th of the flying height in the horizontal. the resulting imagery being used both to assist in the artefact removal process and for orthoimage production. LiDAR has been chosen in 7 . in the context of UDEM.Figure 1. and upon the very high mass point density of nowadays around 4 points/m2. As a consequence. This high point density greatly assists in filtering out non-ground artefacts in the conversion from the directly acquired DSM to the final bare-earth DEM. One of the most significant attributes of LiDAR is multiple-return sensing. For this reason. There may also be mid pulse returns. Whereas aerial photogrammetry techniques can yield DSMs of vertical accuracy equivalent to LiDAR. data acquisition is generally confined to daylight hours since most LiDAR units nowadays come with dedicated digital cameras (usually medium format). Thus. 3. LiDAR has high productivity of around 300 km2 of coverage per hour.
5-1m has been adopted as representative of the capabilities of fully automated DSM production from digital aerial imagery. followed up with initial stage automated DSM-to-DEM conversion. DEMs produced from ALOS PRISM can be expected to display height accuracies of around 3-5m.4 Photogrammetry As a tool for topographic mapping.5 IfSAR Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) has been employed for a few decades as an imaging technology in remote sensing. spatially separated from the first. and thus the ADS40 data should be thought of as constituting a bare-earth DEM over open terrain. DSM generation was automated with the advent of analytical stereoplotters and then further process automation accompanied the introduction of digital aerial imagery. All satellite imaging systems used for 3D terrain modelling use line scanner technology. For example. except in special circumstances such as very high accuracy DSMs for 3D city modelling. with the resulting elevation model often being employed to support orthoimage generation. which was obtained from 1:25. manually intensive classification and filtering was not carried out. Broad area DEM generation via photogrammetry is presently not the preferred approach. In order to quantify the accuracy of LiDAR against ground-truth. and to some extent in urban areas. Through an augmentation of a conventional airborne or spaceborne SAR system with a second receiving antenna. elevation data from a kinematic GPS survey of several thousand points has been used. DSM and subsequently DEMs to around 30cm vertical and 2-3m horizontal resolution can be generated with a high degree of automation through such a process. the GeoEye-1 and World View-1 and -2 satellites have a 50cm GSD.5m resolution ALOS PRISM satellite having a 3-line scanner geometry similar to that in the ADS40 aerial camera. photogrammetry has a long history. it has been possible to utilise the principles of interferometry to extend SAR from a 2D imaging system to a 3D topographic modelling technology. Satellite imaging systems have gained popularity for DSM generation at vertical resolutions within the range of 1m to 10m. However. For example. photorealistic models of major cities. Traditionally elevation data was extracted from stereo aerial photography in the form of contours. it is noteworthy that the final stage. but only as a smoothed DSM for land cover comprising dense vegetation. with the 2. The generation of a DSM from digital aerial or satellite imagery is today a fully automatic batch process. 3. Also. DEM data generated from 50 cm GSD imagery recorded by LPMA’s Leica ADS40 line scanning camera to a nominal vertical resolution of 0. 3. The latter is exemplified to some extent by current programs to create high definition. along with data from permanent survey marks. For the present project. one approach employs the Vexcel Ultracam digital camera flown in a block configuration of 80% forward overlap and 60% side overlap at an imaging scale that yields a 15cm ground sample distance (GSD). which uses the SPOT 5 HRS system. yields DEMs with a nominal 5-10m height accuracy (1-sigma) and 2030m horizontal resolution.this project as the ‘standard’ against which the other DEM generation technologies are compared. which will support DSM extraction to around 1-2m vertical accuracy. as exemplified in this project by the Topo DEM. the dedicated DEM generation program of SPOT Image.000 topographic map data. The resulting Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IfSAR) system determines the relative heights of imaged ground points as a 8 .
4. Airborne IfSAR can record data at the very rapid rate of around 100-200 km2 per minute. with national DEMs being commercially available through Intermap’s Nextmap product line. 3-5m for the 1:25000 Topo DEM (referred to here as the Topo DEM). Recall that nominal vertical resolutions of the DEMS are: approximately 5-15m for SRTM and SPOT5 HRS. though initial results from the system are reported as being very encouraging. 0. as is vegetation removal using new techniques for polarmetric radar interferometry.5–1m for airborne IfSAR and the ADS40 DEM. there has been a considerable upsurge in 1m-accurate DEM generation via IfSAR. From the standpoint of a DEM generation system that can economically provide 2m accuracy elevation models of Australia to horizontal resolutions of 10m. The intended elevation model product from TanDEM-X is a global DTED3 DEM of 12m post spacing and 2m vertical accuracy. Project Work Plan Shown in Figure 2 is the workflow designed for the DEM analysis. A second source of radar DEMs is single-pass spaceborne IfSAR. TanDEM-X has considerable potential. appeared in the mid 1990s and global focus was brought onto the capabilities of IfSAR to produce DEMs with the successful completion of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) in 2000. This new SRTM DEM data was accessed for the current project from Geoscience Australia. which is some 10-20 times the area acquisition rate of LiDAR (the IfSAR swath width is generally 8-20km). to the point where an updated DTED 2 DEM with a post spacing of 1 second (30m) and a nominal vertical accuracy in the range of 6-12m has recently been released. As at late May 2011. the current TerraSAR-X satellite has been joined in space by a second X-band SAR unit. Under the TanDEM-X program of Germany’s DLR and the Infoterra company. Automated classification and filtering was based upon analysis of the multiple-pulse returns. it is useful to keep in mind that the DEMs being compared have accuracy ranges that differ by more than an order of magnitude. rather than to reinforce wellrecognised differences in resolution and accuracy. The first commercial IfSAR system for DEM generation. single-pass IfSAR operation is possible. Beyond the heavily built-up areas of major cities and very rough mountainous areas. Given that a main focus of this analysis is upon DEM accuracy. With the orbits of the two satellites being tightly controlled. Thus.1m vertical accuracy. Over the past two or three years. the Intermap STAR 3i system. Moreover. data collection in not impeded by clouds.5 .function of the phase difference of the coherently combined signals received at the two antennas. and 15cm for LiDAR. Intermap Technologies have recently completed a large project within the Murray Darling Basin with their STAR system and produced DSMs with a stated 0. use of stereo radar imagery as a complement to the process allows for semi-automated DSM-to-DEM conversion. 9 . Also shown in Figure 2 is the work flow adopted for the production of the reference LiDAR DEM from the measured mass points. after which interpolation was adopted to generate the final grid of 2m horizontal spacing. full commercial operation of TanDEM-X had not commenced. Moreover. the Australian terrain can be characterized as being ideal for DEM generation via airborne radar. There have been a number of refinements made to the SRTM DEM of Australia over the past few years. the principal aim of the analysis to be conducted is to better characterize the performance of these different DEM technologies within a typical Australian coastal environment. and a post spacing of 5m.
the anticipated localized MSL versus AHD biases can be anticipated to be very small in relation to the overall error budget for all DEM data other than the LiDAR reference data. In order to compare height values from different DEMs at specific positions. It is noteworthy that there can be discrepancies in actual ‘local’ MSL and AHD amounting to 70cm or more as a consequence of sea-surface topography. where applicable and if known. However. involves bringing all DEM datasets into a uniform reference coordinate system. interpolation is needed because of the multiple horizontal resolutions (post spacings) involved. height differences are being determined. Figure 2. Project workflow. Secondly.As can be seen from Figure 2. A height conversion from ellipsoidal to orthometric is then carried out using both geoid height information from AusGEOID09 and. which is taken to be LiDAR data. Firstly. In the conversion of height data recorded in the kinematic GPS survey conducted as part of the project. Especially important is uniformity within the height datum. Within the current project the principle adopted is that the interpolation should occur in the higher 10 . the initial step in the accuracy assessment and analysis of differently sourced DEMs of varying resolution against the reference dataset. localized distortions in AHD will have no significant impact in the accuracy analysis for two reasons. which nullifies the effect of absolute biases in the datum. the local relationship between AusGEOID09 and the Australian Height Datum (AHD) to facilitate a transformation of the DEM to AHD. All current DEM data acquisition technologies utilize GPS for absolute positioning and consequently the DEM datum is initially referenced to the WGS84 ellipsoid. AusGEOID09 was employed to facilitate a one-step WGS84-to-AHD reference datum conversion. at least when all DEMs are nominally referenced to AHD.
A result of this approach is that the number of sample points will vary proportionally to the horizontal resolution of the DEM being compared to the LiDAR reference data. 2) Topographic variation. with automated processes alone being largely relied upon. and. 1:25000 topographic mapping and SPOT5 HRS. from urban to rural to bushland and forests. the metadata necessary to comprehensively consider slope and aspect for the IfSAR. secondly. height comparisons require interpolation within the 2m horizontal resolution LiDAR DEM. A principal aim of the project was to assess the influence of both man-made structures in an urban environment. Although there have been a number of published reports on the performance of different DEM generation techniques in different topography. that by its very nature the vulnerable coastal zone is low-lying. Thus. The reasons for this are. since the choice was essentially limited to the mid north coast of NSW. ranging from grassland to scrubland and forest. Fulfilment of the latter criterion turned out to be the factor that most influenced the selection of test area locations. Test Area Locations Two criteria governed selection of geographic location for the DEM analysis: 1) suitability in the context of overall assessment of coastal zone vulnerability to climate change. which in combination fulfilled the following requirements: 1) Coastal zone with mixed vegetation.resolution DEM. 3) Variation in landcover. 4) Containing extensive areas below 10m elevation and open to the coastline. LiDAR and photogrammetry (from ADS40 aerial imagery). ranging from floodplains. The analysis was thus limited to gridded DEM data only. this interpolation being bilinear as opposed to bicubic. it was necessary to select specific test sites. Moreover. where there had been recent production of medium. different levels of initial artefact removal and filtering have been applied in the DSM-to-DEM conversion. for example. Issues include. Shown in Figure 3 are the four selected test areas: Area 1 (128 km2) extends from South West Rocks to the Stuarts Point/Grassy Head area and comprises varied coastal topography and 11 . IfSAR DSMs can be accompanied by intensity images that support stereo visual interpretation to aid in the DSM-to-DEM conversion.and medium level hills. this factor has only been briefly analysed here. whereas removal of above ground features in LiDAR DSMs is greatly aided by both the high density and vertical resolution of the mass points and the provision of multiple returns (ranges) which allow penetration of the vegetation layer. to undulating low-level coastal sand dunes to low. Also. ADS40 and LiDAR were not available. firstly. and different land and vegetation cover. and 2) availability of elevation model coverage from as many data acquisition sources as possible. with only mild topographic variation. In accordance with the different height resolutions of the DEMs being considered. on the accuracy and integrity of bare-earth DEMs. Following the selection of the general test area based on data availability. It is important to keep in mind that the characteristics of both the underlying terrain and the particular sensor technology will dictate the degree of complexity of the DSM-to-DEM process. in order to minimize smoothing effects. 5. there was coverage from SRTM. especially as a function of ground slope.and high-resolution DEMs from airborne IfSAR. the fact that photogrammetry techniques beneficially support manual artefact removal in a visual 3D environment.
Area 4 Area 1 Area 2 10 km Area 3 Figure 3: Test areas. and Figure 5 highlights the areas below 10m elevation within each of the four test sites. namely the settlement of Scotts Head. with locations shown for 9 permanent survey marks used as GPS checkpoints. constitutes the sample low-lying urban area. Area 3 (24 km2) covers Crescent Head and this was selected based on the varying terrain of the headland. Area 2 (76 km2).vegetation cover. Area 4 (72 km2 ) was added to the initial three in order to provide further coverage of dense coastal forest areas. The DEMs within each of the test areas are shown in Figure 4. as well as an additional urban area. which is centred on the town of Kempsey. 12 .
(d) Area 4 13 .(a) Area 1 (b) Area 2 (c) Area 3 Figure 4: LiDAR DEMs for each test area.
14 .(a) Area 1 (b) Area 2 (c) Area 3 (d) Area 4 Figure 5: Areas below 10m elevation (black areas are >10m or outside area).
In order to assess the quality of the LiDAR ‘standard’ against ground survey data that is directly referenced to AHD to a nominal accuracy of better than 10cm. which was crucial to realization of the project objectives. Table 1. Specifications of DEM Datasets Shown in Table 1 is a summary of the specification for the different DEM datasets employed in the project.ADF) ERDAS 8 m grid (. Specifications of DEM Datasets and GPS survey data.1 Permanent Survey Marks The reference elevation model against which DEMs from different data sources are compared is taken as the LiDAR DEM.IMG) 5 m grid (. surveyed benchmark data within the test area was accessed. The elevations of nine benchmarks. 1:25000 mapping Kinematic GPS ADS40 DSM Airborne IfSAR DEM SRTM DEM 0.03m 3m 0.5 . This number would be sufficient to indicate the presence of any localized biases in the AHD reference system that were not modeled via the AusGEOID09 Geoid model. The project is indebted to LPMA and GA for this support. all DEM data was kindly provided to the project by the Land and Property Management Authority (LPMA) of the NSW Department of Lands.5m 0.6. Dataset Technology Data format ESRI binary 30m grid (. Benchmark Elevation Data 7. It had originally been intended to employ additional benchmarks as ground checkpoints.IMG) ASCII Horizontal accuracy (RMSExy) 10m Vertical accuracy (RMSEz) 5-10m SPOT5 DEM Space photogrammetry Aerial photogrammetry (50 cm GSD) Intermap STAR 3 & 4 IfSAR Space-borne IfSAR Airborne Laser Scanning Aerial photogrammetry.5-1m 1. With the exception of the 1-second SRTM and SPOT5 data. the locations of which are indicated in Figure 3. were used in a comparison of GPS-derived AHD heights versus those of the permanent survey marks.ADF) 2m grid (.3m 0. which were made available by Geoscience Australia (GA) .BIL) ESRI binary 30m grid (. 15 .15m Topo DEM Ground check points 6m 0.LAS) ERDAS 25m Grid (. however time constraints and difficulties imposed in locating the permanent survey marks beyond township areas meant that the number of checkpoints was restricted to nine.1m 7m 6-12m LiDAR mass points 0.03m 7.5m 0.
some 27. with only the low-lying test area around Kempsey (Area 2) being largely free of forest cover. either via GPS or standard surveying techniques of spirit or trigonometric levelling. for two reasons. South West Rocks. there are practical limitations to utilization of thinly distributed benchmark and permanent survey mark data as an accurate base against which to assess LiDAR DEMs. in this case via the AUSGeoid09 correction model. the mode of operation was to utilize a base station that broadcast corrections to the vehicle-borne roving receiver via a radio link. in the first instance. As will be explained in a following section. again several cm. RTKGPS surveys were conducted in five areas: Scotts Head. it is necessary to apply a geoid correction. and the effective maximum distance for radio reception was about 4km depending upon topography. beyond townships. comparisons were to be made with the elevation data recorded within the vehicle-borne Real-Time Kinematic GPS (RTKGPS) Survey. GPS surveyed AHD heights can then be directly compared to elevations of benchmarks (BMs) and permanent survey marks (PMs). One benefit of being restricted to open roadways was that heights to the same points would have been readily recorded within the LiDAR survey.7. Not only are there uncertainties of several cm in the height relationship between the ellipsoidal WGS84 and AHD reference systems. For the conversion of both LiDAR and GPS surveyed heights to elevations referenced to AHD. Stuarts Point. Secondly. Both technologies yield elevations. within an ellipsoidal height reference system. discrepancies between the RTKGPS heights and those determined from LiDAR yield an indication of the accuracy of the LiDAR system free of the effects of uncertainty in the relationship between the ellipsoidal and the orthometric height datums. which blocked reception of the GPS signals. since the only available basis for comparison is elevation data acquired from ground surveys. 16 . The surveyed height profiles were mainly restricted to areas in or near townships. namely WGS84. Kempsey and Crescent Head. roads tended to be ‘covered’ by overhanging trees. This is by no means a simple matter in practise. This accounts for most of the ‘broken’ height profiles shown in Figures 6-11. In this sense. 7.2 GPS Survey of Height Profiles Prior to the adoption of airborne LiDAR as the highest accuracy ‘master’ elevation data set against which other DEM generation technologies are compared. Firstly. The most practical way of acquiring such data is through the use of real-time kinematic GPS (RTKGPS) surveying where a GPS receiver is mounted in a vehicle and 3D positions to an accuracy of a few cm are determined through the use of either a nearby radio-linked base station or a CORS network.3 Comparison of GPS and Ground Survey Elevations In order to ascertain the absolute accuracy of the LiDAR DEM data. which shows favourable and unfavourable areas for data collection within the Stuarts Point area. An illustration of the problems posed by vegetation in the RTKGPS surveys is provided in Figure 12. Notwithstanding these shortcomings. which have traditionally been established via spirit leveling. but there is also the inherent accuracy limitation. The vegetation cover is indicative of most of the native forest areas within the region.000 elevation readings at generally 3-5m intervals were made to 2-4cm accuracy over the roads indicated in the figures. The only feasible approach for assessing the absolute accuracy of LiDAR DEM data covering the UDEM test areas is through the provision of GPS surveyed bare-earth elevations. it was necessary to validate the absolute accuracy of the LiDAR DEM. For the present project. of the ground surveyed elevations.
17 . Elevation profiles recorded by kinematic GPS in Scotts Head (Area 4).Scotts Head Stuarts Point SW Rocks Kempsey Crescent Head Figure 6. Figure 7. Elevation profiles recorded by real-time kinematic GPS in the four test areas.
Elevation profiles recorded by kinematic GPS in Kempsey (Area 2). Elevation profiles recorded by kinematic GPS in South West Rocks (Area 1). Figure 9. Elevation profiles recorded by kinematic GPS in Stuarts Point (Area 4). Figure 10. 18 .Figure 8.
localized biases in AUSGeoid09 or. and by 0.7m to 31. coupled with the anticipated accuracy (95% confidence) level of only 5-8cm for ground surveyed BM/PM elevations suggests that RMS discrepancies in the order of 10cm might well be expected between GPS and ground surveyed elevations. These are indicative of either one or two factors: firstly. In the case of the test areas considered. secondly. 19 . from 30. This fact. the geoid correction value N varies by 1. The overall RMS value of height discrepancies is 9.Figure 11. the results suggest that in order to independently ascertain the accuracy of the LiDAR data. A principal cause of discrepancies between GPS surveyed AHD heights and those for BMs/PMs can be anticipated to be localized biases in Geoid modeling. Constraints on kinematic GPS surveying: unfavourable vegetation conditions (left) and generally favourable conditions (right). systematic errors in the BM/PM data. Table 2 lists the results of the GPS to BM/PM height data comparison for nine survey marks in the Kempsey. Figure 12.1m over the 50km from Crescent Head to Scotts Head.4m over the 20km from Crescent Head to Kempsey. Elevation profiles recorded by kinematic GPS in Crescent Head (Area 3). Scotts Head and Crescent Head areas.4cm and it is noteworthy that there is a systematic trend in the discrepancy values at two of the locations. Either way. it is more appropriate to use RTK GPS heights rather than benchmark data.8m.
78 31.86 -0.77 -0.64 91.4 GPS Heighting versus LiDAR DEMs The LiDAR DEM has been adopted as the reference DEM in view of its significantly higher accuracy. In order to validate. namely 10-15cm. Comparison between GPS surveyed and published elevations for nine benchmarks/permanent survey marks (units are metres).18 7.78 30. a comparison with the profiles of RTKGPS data described above was conducted. as compared to the other DEM generation technologies.12 -0. whereas Table 4 lists the corresponding results when height discrepancy values of greater than three times the standard deviation (ie 99% confidence level) of H values are omitted.12 31.For the purposes of this study it suffices to note that the level of agreement between BM and PM data and RTKGPS is of a similar magnitude to the 1-sigma elevation accuracy anticipated from airborne LiDAR data. where the heighting bias of LiDAR (-ve value indicates higher LiDAR elevation).39 61.09 1.04 -0.92 41.10 6.61 29.73 6. the RMS discrepancy.04 GPS11 GPS14 GPS17 Crescent Head PM12869 PM12867 PM12884 41. The resulting discrepancies in elevation are summarized in Tables 3 and 4.11 29. and the fact that both data sets were transformed from ellipsoidal to orthometric heights via the AusGeoid09 geoid model.24 39.65 11.10 -0.36 31. the absolute accuracy of the LiDAR derived elevations.18 8.28 0.65 13.000 individual RTKGPS height measurements were compared to elevations interpolated from the gridded LiDAR DEM via bilinear interpolation.77 -0.63 1.83 -0.12 -0. GPS Point PM Ellipsoidal Height from GPS Geoid Separation Orthometric height ΔH from Levelling Height of PM from GPS True height of PM Error in Height (m) Kempsey GPS06 GPS10 GPS16 PM25886 PM25983 PM26032 54.63 90.01 0.04 -0.54 91. Subsequent comparisons of the LiDAR DEM heights to ground surveyed data will utilize only RTKGPS data.77 13.02 9.63 45.46 -0.06 31. Table 3 shows results when all RTKGPS points are included.61 10.07 29. the bias-free standard deviation of the discrepancies H and the size of the sample within each of the four test areas is listed.40 31.08 23.66 34.19 0. Table 2.80 10.39 120.79 31. elevation differences will primarily be a function of: 20 . as far as was practical.95 3. some 27. In assessing the heighting discrepancies between the RTKGPS and corresponding points from the LiDAR DEM.88 8.93 23. it should be kept in mind that given the 2-3cm accuracy of the laser ranging component.07 Scotts Head GPS10 GPS12 GPS13 PM56083 PM93242 PM72384 36.89 8.07 3.01 0.91 3.84 13.77 4. and generally also resolution. Within this process.76 30.35 23.74 10.03 9.70 -0.75 30.04 0.
though preliminary analysis suggests that it may in fact be due to a combination of both errors in the LiDAR DEM and lower than expected accuracy within the RTKGPS data. Mean elevation discrepancy (heighting bias) 0. Stuarts Pt 2.12 0. deviation of ΔH 0. 21 .09 RMS elevation discrepancy 0.12 0. However. respectively. Scotts Hd No.12 % of points removed (ΔH >3 1% 1% 11% 8% Test Area 1.and 2-sigma. It is difficult to definitively establish the reasons for the larger mean LiDAR heighting bias in Crescent Head. there were instances were roadside vegetation appeared to influence localized filtering results. White indicates within 1standard deviation of ΔH (ie within 1-sigma).02 -0. green between 2and 3-sigma. It is also noteworthy in Table 4 that. all GPS points included (Units are metres).07 0.06 0. Areas 1 and 2. of points 4880 10188 5740 6311 Table 4.04 0.10 0. airborne and terrestrial.13 -0. Shown in Figure 13 are plots of the positions of RTKGPS points.07 0. where neither the bias value nor the standard deviation of height discrepancies is significant given the 1-sigma accuracy of the LiDAR of around 15cm. with the height discrepancy at each point being indicated by a coloured dot. The corresponding figures for rejected points (ΔH >3 in Areas 3 and 4 are much higher at 11% and 8%. However. the results listed in Tables 3 and 4 are quite encouraging for two of the test areas. in the case of the test areas considered.22 Test Area 1. Scotts Hd No.06 0. and in Area 4 because of a high RMS discrepancy value.14 -0. and errors in the filtering of the LiDAR data.14 0. Table 3.11 0. GPS points where ΔH is greater than 3 times the standard deviation are omitted (Units are metres). ie in the removal of above bare-ground features. of points 4842 10130 5097 5831 In the context of validating the LiDAR DEM via RTKGPS data. the level of compatibility is less than expected within the remaining two areas.16 0. Crescent Hd 4. Comparison between RTK GPS surveyed elevations and those from the LiDAR DEM. Crescent Hd 4.12 Std.24 Std.02 -0. Comparison between RTK GPS surveyed elevations and those from the LiDAR DEM.10 0.04 0. the sigma values being those listed in Table 4. Mean elevation discrepancy (heighting bias) 0. In many respects the comparison of elevations along roadways would be expected to yield optimal results. only 1% of discrepancy values fell outside 3-sigma error bounds.05 0. This issue will be addressed following a general summary of the results of the RTKGPS versus LiDAR comparison. blue between 1. Kempsey 3. for the Stuarts Point and Kempsey test fields. Kempsey 3. since the filtering issue is minimized. in Area 3 because of a higher than expected positive height bias for the LiDAR.04 RMS elevation discrepancy 0. which is consistent with a normal distribution. deviation of ΔH 0. Stuarts Pt 2. discrepancies in the GPS surveying of platform positions. and red greater than 3-sigma.
and red. >3 sigma. which needs no explanation. 2-3 sigma. the LiDAR DEM can be safely taken as the benchmark against 22 . at the position indicated by the yellow line. However. Crescent Head.Note in the upper two of the three images how GPS errors are suggested by distinctly different ΔH values being obtained in overlapping runs of the vehicle borne GPS survey. A final example. This is particularly apparent in the right-hand image covering a road roundabout. Sample discrepancies in LiDAR DEM versus RTKGPS elevation data. A further example of where the height discrepancies are more likely attributable to shortcomings in LiDAR classification and filtering is shown in Figure 14. It can be difficult to accurately attribute errors in the determination of absolute elevation to the LiDAR DEM versus the RTKGPS data. The elevation cross section through the LiDAR DEM. Note how the discrepancies increase for a double-run RTKGPS survey exactly at the transition between an open urban area and a heavily forested area. Figure 13. and here one could infer that the heighting error is more likely to have arisen within the LiDAR processing. White indicates within 1-sigma. blue. On the other hand. the lower image of Figure 13 shows systematic error in a double run along the edge of what is essentially a cliff face. some 4-5m above the underlying DEM. This shows the ‘error’ arising when the vehicle borne GPS crosses a railway bridge. Given that the next highest resolution DEM to be considered has a nominal vertical accuracy of 50cm. is also shown. there is the consolation in this investigation that height discrepancies are of a sufficiently small magnitude where they are consistent overall with the 1-sigma vertical accuracy specification of around 15cm for the LiDAR DEM. 1-2 sigma. is indicated by Figure 15. green.
White indicates within 1-sigma. Discrepancies in LiDAR DEM versus RTKGPS elevation data at bridge crossing. The areas of comparison have been restricted to those indicated in Figure 5. The distinction between these two measures is that the RMSE includes the error arising from systematic height biases. above-ground structures such as buildings. both being relative to the LiDAR DEM. and red greater than 3-sigma. 8.1 Discrepancies in Elevation Shown in Tables 5 and 6 are results from initial comparisons of DEMs against the LiDAR ‘standard’. as quantified by both the Root Mean Square height discrepancy/Error value (RMSE) and the estimated standard error (h). say. South West Rocks. White indicates within 1-sigma.which to assess the remaining DEM generation technologies. Analysis of Different DEMs against LiDAR Reference DEM 8. whereas the h is free of the overall mean bias. Also shown is the cross section height profile corresponding to the yellow line. Sample discrepancies in LiDAR DEM versus RTKGPS elevation data. Kempsey. and blue 1-2 sigma. Notwithstanding the acceptance of this benchmark status. Figure 14. which are deemed most vulnerable to the impact of rising sea level and storm surges. for each different data acquisition technology investigated. ie to areas with an elevation of 10m or less. The results represent an initial summary of overall accuracy in these regions. h will always be equal 23 . Figure 15. the RTKGPS versus LiDAR DEM analysis has highlighted practical issues that still hinder the acquisition of DEMs with vertical accuracies of better than. 10cm. Thus. This analysis has indicated that remaining shortcomings in the DSM-toDEM conversion for LiDAR data are most apparent in the classification and filtering of vegetation as opposed to man-made.
These are removed from the computation of the RMSE and standard deviation values.9 2. Threshold=5m) ADS40 DSM (Area 4. The cut-off height discrepancy values in Table 5 were set at 15m for SRTM and SPOT5 data.0 1. and the different threshold values afford an indication of the extent of noise within each DEM data set.02 0.9 2. Threshold=5m) ADS40 DSM (Area 2.7 8.3 5.1 4.5 Sample Size 85740 51625 13075 20927 79077 51443 12359 18962 123454 74354 18906 30377 3038739 1855859 473092 701487 852493 695044 116038 179993 % removed 0.6 39.0 2. Only height differences below listed thresholds were included and those above removed.8 0.4 2.9 1.1 0. Table 5.9 1.1 1. Threshold=15m) SPOT5 DEM (Area 4. Threshold=5m) ADS40 DSM (Area 1. Threshold=15m) SPOT5 DEM (Area 1.3 3.9 The distinction between Tables 5 and 6 lies in the adopted threshold for classification of particular height discrepancy values as outliers. The outlier thresholds (cut-off values) in Table 6 impose a tighter tolerance on data acceptance than those of Table 5.1 3.4 37. as per the %-removed column.4 4. Some 40% of ADS40 data points in Area 4 were classed as 24 .5 1. Threshold=5m) ADS40 DSM (Area 3.1 4.5 10.6 1.6 1.03 0 0.4 1.7 29. Threshold=5m) Height bias (m) 0.8 2.2 4.8 1. Threshold=10m) Topo DEM (Area 4.0 0.7 1.2 2. The area that was most noise-free.1 0.8 0. Threshold=10m) IfSAR DEM (Area 1.3 0.7 5.5 1.4 0.4 2.3 4.9 0. Threshold=15m) Topo DEM (Area 1.4 0. These values correspond roughly to multiples of three to five times the respective standard deviations.0 2.8 5. with the two estimates being equal when there is no mean height bias.3 0.0 2.3 3.6 3. 10m for the Topo DEM and 5m for both the IfSAR and ADS40 DEMs.2 1.4 5. Threshold=15m) SPOT5 DEM (Area 3.5 -0. or gross errors.3 4.9 0.2 2.0 0.6 2.6 h (m) 3. Threshold=5m) IfSAR DEM (Area 4.01 0. Threshold=15m) SRTM DEM (Area 2.7 1.8 1.6 RMSE (m) 3. was Area 2 and the ADS40 DEM constituted the noisiest data. Threshold=10m) Topo DEM (Area 3. Dataset SRTM DEM (Area 1.5 1.4 0. Threshold=5m) IfSAR DEM (Area 3.8 3.5 4. Threshold=15m) SRTM DEM (Area 4.3 0.8 0.to or smaller than the RMSE. Threshold=15m) SRTM DEM (Area 3. Threshold=10m) Topo DEM (Area 2.2 2.8 1.3 0.1 0.4 0. as expected. Threshold=15m) SPOT5 DEM (Area 2.06 0.5 6. Threshold=5m) IfSAR DEM (Area 2. Accuracy evaluation result against LiDAR derived reference DEM.8 7.9 2.
8 10.3 0. Threshold=10m) SPOT5 DEM (Area 1.6 5.1 0.1 0.2 40.2 1.1 0.2 2. Threshold=10m) SRTM DEM (Area 3. In the latter category. some unique to particular DEM data acquisition technologies and others common to all. reveal a number of characteristics. The results in Tables 5 and 6. coupled with the plots in Figures 16-20 showing height discrepancies above given thresholds.7 7.5 2.1 1.3 1.9 1.1 6.0 Sample Size 84665 51508 12735 19908 75763 50700 11655 17325 119997 62730 17461 28473 2889079 1828944 458564 651056 723999 683764 103057 160370 % removed 1.8 2. Threshold=5m) IfSAR DEM (Area 1.8 1. Threshold=3m) IfSAR DEM (Area 4. Threshold=10m) SPOT5 DEM (Area 4.0 0. Threshold=3m) IfSAR DEM (Area 2.3 1.3 4.7 1.8 15. Threshold=10m) SPOT5 DEM (Area 2. all lie at elevations above 10m. Threshold=10m) SRTM DEM (Area 4. Threshold=3m) IfSAR DEM (Area 3.2 3.7 1. Threshold=3m) ADS40 DSM (Area 3.3 0. Threshold=3m) Height bias (m) 0. there is limited initial consideration of DEM performance within urban environments. Threshold=5m) Topo DEM (Area 4.3 3.3 RMSE (m) 3.8 5. Threshold=10m) Topo DEM (Area 1. Dataset SRTM DEM (Area 1.7 0.2 2.0 2.9 17.7 15.6 1.6 4.1 1. findings could be briefly summarizes as follows: 25 .2 1.3 2.1 2.6 11.6 0.7 3.2 4.8 2.7 6.2 0. Crescent Head and Scotts Head.7 1. Threshold=10m) SRTM DEM (Area 2.8 1. Table 6. since most of the town of Kempsey.9 1.3 2.7 3.2 2. Threshold=5m) Topo DEM (Area 3.1 2.1 1.4 -0.5 6.9 1.0 4. Threshold=3m) ADS40 DSM (Area 4. Threshold=3m) ADS40 DSM (Area 2. as well as significant parts Southwest Rocks. Accuracy evaluation result against LiDAR derived reference DEM.6 1.0 h (m) 3.4 0.1 0. which is no doubt attributable to incomplete classification and filtering within forested areas.3 0.5 4. Threshold=5m) Topo DEM (Area 2.1 3. Threshold=3m) ADS40 DSM (Area 1.1 2. DEM performance in urban areas will be addressed in a later section of this report. Only height differences below listed thresholds were included and those above removed.0 44.1 0.5 4.7 2. as per the %-removed column.4 0.6 0.outliers.5 46.8 1.8 0. Threshold=10m) SPOT5 DEM (Area 3.0 2.7 0.9 4.4 A feature to note is that due to the restriction of the analysis to elevations of less than 10m.
3m. In the case of the SRTM data the RMSE values of around 2 . the systematic errors in DEM heights.3% in the best (Area 2). tend to be concentrated in a small number of areas. mainly forested locations. with the majority of the area being free from ‘rejected’ points. with corresponding uniform RMSE values of 4. In the case of the SPOT5 DEM there is a relatively uniform bias of 4-5m across all three areas. is that the distribution of height discrepancies exceeding the 10m threshold is characterized by concentrations in a few.5-5. The main conclusion regarding the GA-supplied 1-second 26 . namely around 3m. where extensive manual filtering has been carried out. respectively. at least to a moderate extent. Instead of finding an RMSE in the range of 6-12m. Also as anticipated.2 SRTM DEM When assessed against the basic accuracy specifications for the 1-second SRTM DEM. and along two watercourses.4m were significantly lower than anticipated. although influenced by the presence of forest. The lack of forest cover in the extensive open floodplain area around Kempsey accounts to a large degree for this characteristic. the distribution of RMSE values and standard errors for each case are correlated to the presence or absence of forest. It is noteworthy that the mean biases for the SRTM and airborne IfSAR DEMs are 0. standard error (1-sigma) and mean height bias values are very impressive. The number of points with height discrepancies exceeding 10m (roughly 3-sigma) reaches 5.3m.2m for Area 2 to 4.1m and 3. since the positive bias effect of the DEM being in reality more of a canopy DSM in forest areas is absent. which is equal to or slightly below expectations. whereas the standard error of the SPOT5 DEM displayed lower than expected standard error values of 2 . which increase with increasing elevation. Heighting blunders exceeding 15m are confined to a small number of local vegetation clusters in Area 4. as assessed via the RMSE and h values was basically consistent with or better than suggested by specifications. Based on results obtained in the foregoing analysis. which can be seen for Areas 1. The accuracy of the Topo DEM was close to specifications. the values instead range from 2. In the case of the Topo DEM. 3 and 4 in Figure 16.5m. 3 and 4 than for Area 2. IfSAR and ADS40 DEMs. The accuracy associated with each DEM technology. as opposed to being distributed widely throughout forested regions. It can be seen that the bias and RMSE values follow this trend for the SRTM. 5sigma threshold the number of rejected points falls below 1%. There should be an expectation that automated DSM-to-DEM conversion will yield better results for IfSAR versus photogrammetrically derived DEMs generated through image matching because of the ability of radar to penetrate vegetation. A further encouraging feature of the SRTM DEM. but not for the SPOT5 and Topo DEMs. persistent height bias of close to 5m. whereas the IfSAR and ADS40 DEMs displayed an accuracy level in the range of 0. The corresponding 1-sigma values are 2. the achieved RMSE. both heighting biases and height RMSE values are generally larger for Areas 1. the following general summaries of DEM accuracy can be offered: 8. It is also noteworthy that there is a concentration of outlier points both within vegetated valley areas. As anticipated. At a 15m or approx. but a disturbing.7m to 1.5m.6% in the worst case (Area 4) and 0. as summarized in Tables 5 and 6.6m. This enhances the prospect for a better fit to the bare-earth LiDAR DEM.3m for the heavily forested Area 4.9m and 0.
27 . Area 1 Area 2 Area 3 Area4 Figure 16: Points within the SRTM DEM with height discrepancies greater than threshold values when compared to the LiDAR reference DEM. Red areas representing a 10m threshold are overlaid by blue areas representing a 15m cutoff (areas not to scale). and it is free of significant height biases when assessed against RMSE values.SRTM DEM is that within the coastal areas considered it is more accurate than specifications would suggest.
The rejections grow to greater than 10% in Areas 1 and 3. This is consistent with the expectation that the Topo DEM should have fewer filtering errors and thus fewer %-removals because of the map compilation process being based on manual stereoplotting from aerial photography.5m or less.000 map data) The vertical accuracy specification typically associated with 1:25. however. with the distribution of the rejected points being shown in Figure 17. corresponding to a third of the contour interval of 10m. which is largely devoid of forest cover.5m in Area 3 and 1. DEMs generated from SPOT5 HRS imagery could be expected to show a standard error in elevation within the range of 5-10m.5m in all four test areas. Unlike the three lower resolution DEMs discussed above.7 to 6. The latter assumption is supported to some degree by the percentages of the rejected points where the height error exceeded a 15m threshold. the DEM exhibits degraded accuracy due to the presence of significant height biases.9 .4m in Area 1.8m in Area 2. 8. The number of points with height discrepancies greater than the 10m cutoff (nominal 3-sigma value) was 0. The corresponding 1-sigma values were basically the same as a consequence of the modest bias values of 0. Initial expectations for the Topo DEM would then be an RMSE at the 3m level. there being over 8% in Area 1.2.0m.7m.4 Topo DEM (from 1:25. the attained accuracy of the IfSAR DEM was not well within specifications. and a predictably lower 0.000 topographic mapping is 3m. 2m in Area 2. 6% in Area 3. and to 18% in Area 4.4m in Area 4.3 SPOT5 DEM In the absence of height biases. is the very significant height bias of over 4 . Of concern. 10% in Area 4. which results in RMSE values ranging from 4. Initial indications are that whereas the precision of relative heights is within specifications for SPOT5 data. The mean height biases obtained for the Topo DEM. For example. with localized occurrences of height biases as opposed to the area wide bias seen in the SPOT5 DEM.2% or less for all four areas. perhaps as a consequence of insufficient or inaccurate ground control within the block adjustment process. which had a range of 1.1m in Area 3 and 1. were 0. it is could arise in large part in this case from errors in the exterior orientation of the stereo satellite imagery. even in the absence of vegetation. This is well within specifications.5m in Area 4. they are not viewed as significant given the corresponding 1-sigma values. One can only speculate as to the cause of the systematic heighting error. and just below 2m in Area 2.8m in Area 1. as shown in Figure 18. with a 10m removal threshold for height discrepancies. it might be attributable to shortcomings in the filtering of vegetation within the DSM-to-DEM conversion. Alternatively. but it is nevertheless interesting that the points removed are concentrated in localized. 8. 28 . 3 and 4.5 Airborne IfSAR DEM With the relatively coarse rejection threshold value of 5m or approximately 5-sigma assigned to the airborne IfSAR DEM.8. While the biases in Areas 2 and 3 are higher than one would anticipate for a 3m-accurate DEM. mainly forested areas. 1. The higher %removal values shown for a 5m cutoff in Table 6 can be discounted somewhat because the threshold is set too tight at only 2-sigma. 0. It is encouraging to see that with a point rejection threshold of 15m. The rejected points are concentrated mainly in areas of dense coastal forest. resulting RMSE values were 1. 2. the resulting standard errors for the SPOT5 DEM are 3m or just under in Areas 1. when the threshold is reduced to 10m.4% in Area 2.
Red areas representing a 10m threshold are overlaid by blue areas representing a 15m cutoff (areas not to scale).Area 1 Area 2 Area 3 Area4 Figure 17: Points within the SPOT5 DEM with height discrepancies greater than threshold values when compared to the LiDAR reference DEM. 29 .
Area 1 Area 2 Area 3 Area4 30 .
with vegetation cover appearing as a more significant issue than the presence of buildings and other man-made structures. Once again. The first indication of the partial filtering of the ADS40 DSM is indicated in Figure 20.1 Urban Areas Figure 21 shows three sample ‘urban’ areas: (a) a part of the coastal settlement of Scotts Head (taken from Test Area 4). where it can be seen that the majority of the elevations within forested areas were rejected as outliers. 8. The results of the analysis for these three test sites are shown in Table 7. the accuracy was generally consistent with expectations and even a little worse than anticipated. (b) the commercial centre of South West Rocks (Area 1). respectively. Instead.Figure 18: Points within the Topo DEM (1:25. it is apparent that a significant factor limiting vertical accuracy in the generation of supposedly bare-earth DEMs is the automated classification and filtering in forest and urban areas.3m from closer to 1m for the remaining areas. the results obtained with the IfSAR DEM were in accordance with accuracy expectations. 9. Generally speaking. The %-removal values climbed to 7% and 15% in Areas 1 and 4. and the %-removal value drops from 30% or more to 4%. for Areas 2 and 3. but it is encouraging to see results in Area 2 which are consistent with accuracy specifications. The assumption that the RMSE values were inflated by an incomplete DSM-to-DEM conversion is reinforced by the results of the mostly forest free Area 2. Some 40% of the height discrepancy values in Area 4 were rejected. In order to gain further insight into the impact of different land cover on the DEM technologies considered. analyses were carried out for samples of four specific land cover types: urban. 9. The height bias for Area 2 is also reduced to 0. elevation bias. and significantly more points were removed. ie an RMSE value of less than 1m. the regions with most rejected points correspond to hilly terrain with steeper slopes. with the technology performing best in low lying areas. and to a lesser extent to forested areas. As can be seen in Figure 19. Given the incomplete filtering. and (c) a low-lying residential area of West Kempsey (Area 2). and mixed coastal cover of vegetated dunes and housing. 31 . their associated discrepancy values against the LiDAR data being greater than 5m or roughly 5-sigma. which has the same structure as the earlier Tables 5 and 6. forest/bushland. Red areas representing a 5m threshold are overlaid by blue areas representing a 10m cutoff (areas not to scale). 3 and 4 to 1m.000 map data) with height discrepancies greater than threshold values when compared to the LiDAR reference DEM. and to 2% and 4%. RMSE and standard error of height discrepancies were quantified using the LIDAR data as the reference DEM. it is difficult to characterize the accuracy of the ADS40 DEM (actually DSM). where the RMSE value for the 5m threshold falls from the near 2m level of Areas 1. The accuracy indicators of RMSE and standard error changed marginally when the rejection threshold was lowered from 5m to 3m. respectively.6 ADS40 DEM The ‘DEM’ derived from ADS40 digital 3-line scanner aerial imagery was in fact a ‘smoothed’ DSM that had undergone some initial automated classification and filtering. open farm land. Impact of Land Cover on DEM Accuracy Based on the results obtained in the analysis of performance of the five DEMs against the LIDAR reference DEM.
Area 1 Area 2 Area 3 Area4 Figure 19: Points within the airborne IfSAR DEM with height discrepancies greater than threshold values when compared to the LiDAR reference DEM. 32 . Red areas representing a 3m threshold are overlaid by blue areas representing a 5m cutoff (areas not to scale).
Area 1 Area 2 Area 3 Area4 Figure 20: Points within the ADS40 DEM with height discrepancies greater than threshold values when compared to the LiDAR reference DEM. Red areas representing a 3m threshold are overlaid by blue areas representing a 5m cutoff (areas not to scale). 33 .
1 1.3 1. Threshold=10m) IfSAR DEM (Area a. Threshold=5m) ADS40 DSM (Area b. Threshold=15m) SPOT5 DEM (Area a.9 1.4 0.9 1.1 0. Accuracy evaluation result against LiDAR derived reference DEM for three Urban Test Areas. Threshold=15m) SPOT5 DEM (Area c.3 2.4 1.9 1.6 3.8 -1 0 -0.1 7.4 1.8 3 1.5 1.2 1 h (m) 2.6 7.5 RMSE (m) 2. Threshold=15m) SRTM DEM (Area c. Threshold=15m) SRTM DEM (Area b.8 -1. Dataset SRTM DEM (Area a.1 0 1.9 0.2 1 1. Sample labels correspond with those in Figure 21.5 1. Threshold=15m) TopoDEM (Area a.2 6.7 6.9 6. Threshold=5m) ADS40 DSM (Area a. Only height differences below listed thresholds were included and those above removed.5 2.9 Sample Size 273 150 403 273 150 403 243 150 403 10043 5512 14800 3828 2135 5725 % removed 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 0 0 0. Threshold=10m) Topo DEM (Area b.7 -0.3 1. Threshold=5m) ADS40 DSM (Area c.7 0.1 0.3 -0. Threshold=10m) Topo DEM (Area c.7 2.9 3. Threshold=15m) SPOT5 DEM (Area b.4 1. as per the %-removed column.6 3 1.5 0. (a) (b) (c) Figure 21: Urban test areas. Threshold=5m) IfSAR DEM (Area c.5 1. (b) South West Rocks and (c) West Kempsey. Table 7.1 0.1 6. (a) Scotts Head.4 34 . Threshold=5m) IfSAR DEM (Area b. Threshold=5m) Height bias (m) 1.6 1.5 2.
which comprises a relatively small number of houses and trees. (a) (c) (b) Figure 22: Open rural test areas. the bias value has increased over that listed in Tables 5 and 6. (b) Yarrahappini and (c) Stuarts Point Shortcomings in the DSM filtering required in the area shown in Figure 21a. The first two areas are gently undulating.The first feature of note in Table 7 is that for the SRTM and SPOT5 DEMs. is enough to significantly inflate the RMSE value compared to that for the bare-ground areas of Figs. In terms of accuracy. (a) West Kempsey. 9.2 Open Rural Areas Figure 22 shows the three selected open rural area sites: (a) open grassland with thinly distributed houses and trees in West Kempsey. it is safe to assume that this is attributable to an incomplete removal of buildings in the DSM-to-DEM conversion. Upon compensation for the bias. In the case of SRTM. both SRTM and SPOT5 yield standard errors of height discrepancies in the range of 1. The results of the analysis for these test sites are shown in Table 8. The bias value for SPOT5. it is a gross positive height error likely attributable to a failure to utilize local ground control in the exterior orientation determination for the HRS imagery. Instead. is characterized by buildings taller than a single story and it is thus not unexpected to see a more significant bias being present. which is indicative of a more successful filtering of buildings in the automated DSM-to-DEM conversion. for all five 35 . where it can be immediately seen that the DEM accuracy improves significantly when the need for extensive filtering is removed from the DSM-to-DEM transformation. IfSAR and ADS40 DEMs show an overall reduction in height bias. Figure 21b. 21b and 21c. the RMSE values obtained are largely consistent with those obtained in the full-area evaluations. at between 6m and 7m. The results achieved for the three urban areas for the Topo. (b) open fields near Yarrahappini and (c) ploughed fields south of Stuarts Point. while the third is flat.5m to 3m. The South West Rocks town centre. is not at all consistent with a shortcoming in building classification and filtering.
2 0. including an area of mangroves.3 0.4 0. Threshold=3m) ADS40 DSM (Area b.3 RMSE (m) 2. as per the %-removed column. in the heavily forested area.4 3.7 0 0 1.6 Sample Size 703 374 286 702 374 286 691 374 286 25087 13802 9726 9860 5376 3854 % removed 0 0 0 0. Threshold=3m) ADS40 DSM (Area c. Threshold=10m) Topo DEM (Area a.8 1 0. the accuracy of the SPOT5 DEM is no better than 10m in absolute terms. Threshold=5m) Topo DEM (Area c.3 0. Dataset SRTM DEM (Area a. Threshold=3m) IfSAR DEM (Area c. with virtually all of these being found in the DEMs covering the scene with houses and trees. Only height differences below listed thresholds were included and those above removed.3 3. Threshold=5m) IfSAR DEM (Area a.8m. Threshold=10m) SRTM DEM (Area b.3 Forest/Bushland Areas Figure 23 shows the three selected forest/bushland sites: (a) Dense tall (>10m) eucalypt forest at Yarrahappini.4m and 0.DEMs. The table indicates a number of interesting features worthy of note. it is not surprising to see so few points classified as outliers.1 0 0 1.4 0.6 1. Also exhibiting a large positive bias is. Figure 23a.2 0.7 4.5 1. The results of the analysis for these test sites are shown in Table 9. Accuracy evaluation result against LiDAR derived reference DEM for three Open Rural Test Areas.6 0.2 -0.3 -0.6 0. Threshold=10m) SPOT5 DEM (Area b.1 0 0 Given that the cultivated area shown in Figure 21c was likely bushland at the time the Topo DEM was produced.7 0. Threshold=3m) IfSAR DEM (Area b.3 0. Sample labels correspond with those in Figure 22. once again. Threshold=10m) SPOT5 DEM (Area c. The absolute accuracy for all DEMs is within specifications for all three test sites.6 0. Threshold=5m) Topo DEM (Area b. Threshold=3m) Height bias (m) -1. Table 8. is better than 1m. (b) Tall forest near Grassy Head and (c) scrubland covering a coastal dune at Stuarts Point.3 0 0.6 -0.6 0.4 1. Firstly.5 3. as expressed through the RMSE.4 0.4 0.9 0.3 0.6 0.9 2.1 -0.6 0.3m is land clearing and subsequent earthworks to create the cultivated fields.6 0.2 1 1.5 0. it can be seen that some 91% of the sample points are 36 .2 -0. Indeed.6 0. the probable reason for the bias figure of -2.7 h (m) 1. the SPOT5 DEM.4 0. Threshold=10m) SPOT5 DEM (Area a. Given the largely insignificant height biases and RMSE values that are within specifications. Threshold=3m) ADS40 DSM (Area a.2 3. 9. the accuracy of SRTM.6 0.9 4.8 -2. In the open areas. and the corresponding values for the IfSAR and ADS40 DEMs are between 0. Threshold=10m) SRTM DEM (Area c.
7 Sample Size 240 60 395 21 60 395 240 60 395 8910 1888 15017 5 529 5907 % removed 0 0 0 91 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0. and (c) Stuarts Point Beach. as per the %-removed column.2 4.9 2.1 4.6 1. Threshold=15m) SRTM DEM (Area b. where agreement with the LIDAR DEM is 0. Threshold=5m) ADS40 DSM (Area b.7 Another DEM showing a high bias value in thick forest was that from ADS40 imagery. Threshold=5m) Height bias (m) 2. Dataset SRTM DEM ( Area a.2 1. Threshold=5m) ADS40 DSM (Area a.4 0. Threshold=15m) SRTM DEM (Area c.rejected as outliers.3 0. Threshold=5m) ADS40 DSM (Area c.9 28 0.8 0. Threshold=15m) SPOT5 DEM (Area a. Threshold=15m) SPOT5 DEM (Area b.2 2. Threshold=15m) SPOT5 DEM (Area c.4 3. (b) Grassy Head Road.3 9. Sample labels correspond with those in Figure 23.9 1.8 1.2 -0.5m RMS.4 1. meaning they are in error by more than 10m. Threshold=5m) IfSAR DEM (Area b. Threshold=10m) Topo DEM (Area c.8 99. Threshold=10m) Topo DEM (Area b. 37 .9 1.5 0. (a) (b) (c) Figure 23: Forest/Bushland test areas (a) Yarrahappini. though this was to be anticipated given the low level of filtering undertaken with this data.3 1.1 RMSE (m) 2.2 2. Contrasting to the poor accuracy of the SPOT5 and ADS40 DEMs is the result for the airborne IfSAR DEM in the same area.7 h (m) 1.4 4 2.5 -0.5 1.8 3. Threshold=5m) IfSAR DEM (Area c.2 2 0. Only height differences below listed thresholds were included and those above removed.5 1.7 1. the cause no doubt being a combination of the already referred to exterior orientation bias and an inadequate removal of vegetation from the DSM.4 1.3 1.8 0.2 0.7 4 4.5 -3.2 0.3 0.2 -2. Threshold=15m) Topo DEM (Area a.6 3.7 1. Threshold=10m) IfSAR DEM (Area a. Accuracy evaluation result against LiDAR derived reference DEM for three forest/bushland areas.7 10. Table 9.4 1.
Overall.7m. The chosen test area shown in Figure 24 is representative of much of the low-lying coastal environment along Australia’s eastern seaboard that is vulnerable to sea level rise and storm surges.2 5. Given these results it is observed that the particular combination of land cover types does not reveal any distinctive performance characteristics which might not be apparent in the data covering the broader test areas.6 2. Threshold=5m) -1.39 10. Both the ADS40 and IfSAR DEMs have small biases. whereas the SPOT5 elevations show an RMSE of 6m. 24. The Topo DEM also has a larger than expected bias given that the test area is right on the coast. Table 10.87 38 . Arakoon. Figure 24: Coastal area of mixed land cover. as shown in Fig. scrubland.8 1.7 2. Threshold=5m) Smoothed ADS40 DSM (Sample 1. Neither systematic error is immediately explainable. The RMSE of the SRTM elevations is a commendable 3m. largely due to the now quite familiar large bias of also close to 6m.7 1. though RMSE values which are outside specifications by approximately 0. with the achievable accuracy being inversely proportional to vegetation density.1 2. the results for the forested areas are consistent with expectations. The results shown in Table 10 show largely the same characteristics as those presented in Table 5 for the full test areas. 9.2 0. namely that the RMSE is higher than specifications for the DEM technologies would suggest. Threshold=10m) IfSAR DEM (Sample 1. Only height differences below listed thresholds were included and those above removed. Threshold=15m) SPOT5 DEM (Sample 1. bush and built-up urban area.7 1. Threshold=15m) Topo DEM (Sample 1.7 0.1 2.Also noteworthy in Table 9 are the negative height biases of the SRTM DEM in the coastal scrubland and mangrove environment of Figure 23c and the Topo DEM in the tall bushland of Figure 23b.6 2.9 6 3.5 1. Dataset Height bias (m) RMSE (m) h (m) Sample Size % removed Smoothed SRTM DEM (Sample 1.7 244 233 244 8557 3281 0 4. with a modest bias. Accuracy evaluation result against LiDAR derived reference DEM for coastal area of mixed land cover.4 Mixed Coastal Land Cover The final land cover type sampled could be characterized as mixed coastal dunes.51 0 9. as per the %-removed column. with its RMSE value being marginally higher than expected.
Whereas. The accuracy degradation with slope is clearly apparent. The values shown represent discrepancies between the LiDAR reference elevations and the SRTM. Shown in Figure 25a-d are plots of the variation of RMSE values for DEM elevations for slopes from 50 to 500 within the four test areas. Plots of RMSE values against LiDAR elevations for different DEM technologies for different terrain slope. essentially heighting biases. airborne IfSAR and ADS40 DEMs. it is interesting to note that the mean errors. being most pronounced in Area 1.5m in near-flat areas to 7. Error cut-off thresholds of 15m apply for the SRTM. Whereas the impact of forest is not anticipated to significantly influence the character of the plots. Steep terrain adversely impacts especially upon image matching in stereo photogrammetric techniques and upon radar interferometry. whereas a cut-off of 5m applies to the IfSAR and ADS40 data. SPOT5. which contains both the steepest and most forested terrain.10. The mean error for SPOT5 derived elevations increases from around 4. but a value of 5m is obtained for Area 4. are impacted in the cases of SRTM and SPOT5.5m in areas displaying slopes of between 250 and 500. the current project offered a favourable opportunity to examine how different DEM technologies behaved in areas of differing topography. SPOT5 and Topo DEMs. Topo. Influence of Terrain Slope It is well established that the performance of DEM generation technologies is generally degraded as a function of increasing terrain slope. the impact of slope might not be of prime importance within low-lying coastal topography potentially affected by sea-level rise. (a) Area 1 (b) Area 2 (c) Area 3 (d) Area 4 Figure 25. The biases are considerably less for SRTM. Another feature of the plots is that in addition to the airborne IfSAR and ADS40 DEMs displaying significantly higher accuracy 39 .
1 2.3 0 -0.3 -0.9 0.1 4. RMSE values for DEMs assessed against LiDAR DEM at different ground slopes.4 3.4 8 7.2 4. are of sufficient accuracy and reliability.2 2.9 5.2 0.8 -0.2 0.1 6.1 5.3 -0.5 1 0.8 5. Overall.2 1.2 0.8 2.8 2.9 5.8 0. in the context of terrain modelling within low-lying coastal zones.9 1.than the SPOT5.7 4.5 4. their performance is less influenced by terrain slope.9 0 -0.2 -0.1 -0.1 2.1 1.5 5.2 2.1 1.6 0.5 5.7 -2.9 5.3 0.5 -0.2 4.7 2. The accuracy gap between LiDAR DEMs and those from airborne IfSAR and ADS40 aerial photography at 50cm GSD might only be a factor of three to four according to specifications.2 0 0.9 1.9 25-50 Height bias 1.5 0.7 4.3 1.4 5.8 2.3 3.3 5-15 Height bias 1.8 1.8 5. this project has also revealed characteristics of the different DEMs that are perhaps not as widely recognized. but are nevertheless important in the context of producing accurate bare-earth DEMs of coastal terrain vulnerable to the impact of climate change.6 3.5 -1.9 0. Yet. as well as the LiDAR reference data of course.5 3.9 -1.6 3.3 0. eg 15-25cm elevation accuracy for LiDAR versus 0.5 1.8 RMSE 7 4.5 1.2 4.6 4.3 -1.1 0.1 5.7 4.7 3.6 0.7 4. 40 .9 6.6 5.4 0.4 0 4.4 6.6 0. the results of the analysis of the influence of slope on DEM technologies has served to further emphasise that of the five DEMs considered.5-1m for IfSAR and the ADS40.7 1. the findings from the evaluation of the performance of DEM generation technologies are consistent with expectations regarding both accuracy and recognised attributes and limitations of the different DEM data sources considered.1 5 5.3 0.2 1.4 0.4 0.6 RMSE 5.2 4.2 7. Table 11. However.2 0. SRTM and Topo DEMs.4 5.4 1.4 3.8 RMSE 4.8 1. RMSE values for IfSAR and the ADS40 DEMS are nevertheless at a higher than desired level of 1-2m.7 7.7 1.7 -0.9 1.4 0. Slope category % DEM SRTM (Area 1) SRTM (Area 2) SRTM (Area 3) SRTM (Area 4) SPOT5 (Area 1) SPOT5 (Area 2) SPOT5 (Area 3) SPOT5 (Area 4) Topo (Area 1) Topo (Area 2) Topo (Area 3) Topo (Area 4) IfSAR (Area 1) IfSAR (Area 2) IfSAR (Area 3) IfSAR (Area 4) ADS40 (Area 1) ADS40 (Area 2) ADS40 (Area 3) ADS40 (Area 4) Height bias 0.9 -0.5 -1.5 6.2 3.7 2.4 1.6 2.8 0.9 5.2 1.5 1. though a mild fall off in accuracy with increasing slope is apparent.7 2 1.4 2. Units are metres.4 1 0.8 1.9 1 1.5 0-5 RMSE 3.7 1.1 4.4 1.3 2.3 Conclusions In most respects.2 0 2.4 5.4 0.8 15-25 Height bias 1 0.8 1.8 1.9 1.9 1.1 8 7.4 3 3.9 4. only the airborne IfSAR and the ADS40 DEMs.5 -0.7 2.4 6 6.3 4.2 2.2 4.9 1. as can be seen from Figure 25 and from Table 11.3 3.8 0.5 5.4 -0.
However. As a consequence of the classification/filtering issues. The systematic error effects then flowed through to the image matching and object point triangulation phases. the presence of residual height errors over dense vegetation cover and low-level man-made features can be anticipated to some extent. In the case of the SPOT5 DEM. relative vertical accuracy within specifications. and to a lesser extent. to the point where this DEM has little utility for higher resolution terrain modeling. this difference is accentuated by shortcomings in the automated classification and filtering of both vegetation and. and are therefore generally positive in sign. and consequently to filtering. the difference in vertical resolution between different DEM data sources. each produced localized. Whereas the removal of vegetation and building from the DSM through automated classification and filtering can be expected to be more complete with multiple-return LiDAR than with radar or Topo DEMs. man-made structures within the DSM-toDEM conversion of the radar and photogrammetrically produced DEMs. sub-metre RMSE values were obtained for the SRTM and Topo DEMs. irrespective of land cover.000-point kinematic GPS survey. Finally. highlight the fact that distinctions in DEM accuracy are as much due to different terrain and land cover. the SPOT5 DEM also produced a relative accuracy well within specifications. which cannot be matched in densely vegetated areas by radar and photogrammetry techniques. which revealed an overall RMS height discrepancy value of close to 0. largely free of trees and buildings. This bias likely arises due to accuracy shortcomings in the exterior orientation determination for the SPOT5 line scanner imagery. This is entirely consistent with the anticipated RMS elevation accuracy of the LiDAR DEM of 0. The residual systematic elevation errors attributable to incomplete filtering of DEMs have the potential to compromise the integrity of bare-earth elevation models in low-lying coastal areas that are either heavily vegetated or urbanized. and indeed in the case of the 1-second SRTM accuracy significantly exceeded specifications. it can be concluded that LiDAR is very much the preferred option for DEM generation in coastal regions vulnerable to sea level rise and storm surges. which was performed without the use of local ground control. It must be kept in mind. 41 . Multiple-return LiDAR displays significant advantages by way of last-pulse ground definition. however.15m. In the case of the open pasture (Area b). The results listed in Table 8 for DEM performance in open areas. except through skill-intensive and expensive manual editing processes. as to differences in basic metric resolution of the different technologies. When corrected for bias. to a lesser extent. the following short summaries of the performance of each of the DEM generation technologies in the four selected test sites on the mid north coast of NSW are offered: The integrity if the LiDAR ‘master’ DEM was validated through checks against the 27. Such land cover accounts for the majority of the populated coastal regions of Australia. and the IfSAR and ADS40 DEMs showed sub-half metre RMSE values. but here the bias problem was very significant. that all checkpoints were positioned along open roads where issues with filtering in the DSM-to-DEM conversion do not arise.1m. a 4-7m systematic elevation error was present. In regard to the five DEM generation technologies evaluated against LiDAR within the project. though there is an absence of available tools to assess the extent of such systematic errors. Elevation biases are generally attributable to incomplete filtering of vegetation and buildings.
a comprehensive DEM accuracy analysis was precluded. it is noteworthy that within Area 2. The Topo DEM derived from 1:25. as quantified by an RMSE value of around 5m.2 to 4. and has optimal accuracy in low-lying areas with sparse vegetation coverage. appears to be a more accurate bare-earth elevation model than its accuracy specifications would suggest. which has only minor coverage of either scrubland or forest.1m. partially filtered DSM. in some cases due to changes in land cover. The airborne IfSAR DEM displays an accuracy at the high end of its anticipated 0. The SPOT5 DEM also produces an accuracy. However. Given that the ADS40 elevation model was really a smoothed. Acknowledgments This work was funded by the Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. 42 .000 topographic map data is internally quite consistent and displays an accuracy in accordance with its 3m specification. The 1-second SRTM DEM. which is inside specifications. but it displays a disturbingly high systematic height bias averaging around 5m. with its RMSE value range of 2. the better than 1m height accuracy attained in the smoothed DSM is consistent with accuracy specifications. This DEM displays localized areas of systematic height bias.5 to 1m range.
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