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Open-File report 02-465

A Bibliography of Terrain Modeling (Geomorphometry), the Quantitative Representation of Topography—Supplement 4.0

By Richard J. Pike

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (536 kB)Introduction

Terrain modeling, the practice of ground-surface quantification, is an amalgam of Earth science, mathematics, engineering, and computer science. The discipline is known variously as geomorphometry (or simply morphometry), terrain analysis, and quantitative geomorphology. It continues to grow through myriad applications to hydrology, geohazards mapping, tectonics, sea-floor and planetary exploration, and other fields. Dating nominally to the co-founders of academic geography, Alexander von Humboldt (1808, 1817) and Carl Ritter (1826, 1828), the field was revolutionized late in the 20th Century by the computer manipulation of spatial arrays of terrain heights, or digital elevation models (DEMs), which can quantify and portray ground-surface form over large areas (Maune, 2001). Morphometric procedures are implemented routinely by commercial geographic information systems (GIS) as well as specialized software (Harvey and Eash, 1996; Köthe and others, 1996; ESRI, 1997; Drzewiecki et al., 1999; Dikau and Saurer, 1999; Djokic and Maidment, 2000; Wilson and Gallant, 2000; Breuer, 2001; Guth, 2001; Eastman, 2002). The new Earth Surface edition of the Journal of Geophysical Research, specializing in surficial processes, is the latest of many publication venues for terrain modeling.

This is the fourth update of a bibliography and introduction to terrain modeling (Pike, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999) designed to collect the diverse, scattered literature on surface measurement as a resource for the research community. The use of DEMs in science and technology continues to accelerate and diversify (Pike, 2000a). New work appears so frequently that a sampling must suffice to represent the vast literature. This report adds 1636 entries to the 4374 in the four earlier publications1. Forty-eight additional entries correct dead Internet links and other errors found in the prior listings. Chronicling the history of terrain modeling, many entries in this report predate the 1999 supplement. Coverage is representative from about 1800 through early–mid 2002. Papers increasingly are published exclusively or in duplicate on the Internet's World Wide Web; the dates given here for Web addresses (URLs) that lack a print publication indicate a Web site's last update or my last access of it. The bibliography is arranged alphabetically and thus is not readily summarized. This introduction cites about 500 entries, a third of them grouped under 24 morphometric topics, as a guide to the listing's contents. Continuing the practice of previous bibliographies in the series to provide more information on a few applications (see summary of past topics in Pike, 2000a), this report elaborates further on topographic data, putative new parameters, tectonic geomorphology/neo-orometry, biogeography, ice-cap morphometry, results from the Mars Global DEM, landslide-hazard mapping, terrain modeling as physics, Hack's law, and broad-scale computer visualization. The literature of some of these subjects is large, and none of the summaries is intended to more than introduce the topic and comment on some of the current contributions of terrain modeling. Closing the essay is a discussion of pre-1900 papers that trace the evolution of ridge-line and watercourse quantification by descriptive geometry, as well as comments on some new books and an on-line bulletin board.

First posted December 18, 2002

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Suggested citation:

Pike, Richard J., 2002, A Bibliography of Terrain Modeling (Geomorphometry), the Quantitative Representation of Topography—Supplement 4.0: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-465, 158 pp.,

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