Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Open-File Report 2014–1052

Prepared in cooperation with Northern Arizona University

Monitoring Fine-Sediment Volume in the Colorado River Ecosystem, Arizona—Construction and Analysis of Digital Elevation Models

By Matt Kaplinski, Joseph E. Hazel, Jr., Paul E. Grams, and Philip A. Davis

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (5.6 MB)Abstract

Digital elevation models (DEMs) of eleven 2–5 kilometer reaches of the Colorado River ecosystem (CRE) in Grand Canyon were constructed from repeat bathymetric and topographic surveys collected between August 2000 and December 2004. The DEMs will be used by researchers to study the effects of Glen Canyon Dam (GCD) operations on the sediment resources of the CRE in Grand Canyon by quantifying morphological changes and sediment transfer within and among the study reaches.

Airborne surveys collected light detection and ranging (lidar) and photogrammetric data, whereas ground topographic and bathymetric data were collected simultaneously on river trips. Surveys were conducted in August 2000, September 2000, May 2002, May 2004, November 2004, and December 2004. The aerial lidar and photogrammetric data were merged with the ground topographic and bathymetric data to create DEMs of the study areas with a grid resolution of 1 meter. For each survey period, the vertical component of uncertainty (specifically, reproducibility or precision) was estimated for each data type (lidar/photogrammetry, ground surveys, bathymetry) and for two different types of bed-surface texture (smooth and rough).

The resulting DEMs from this study are a valuable contribution to ongoing efforts in assessing the effects of GCD operations on the CRE. The DEMs can be used to map the spatial characteristics of geomorphic change within the study reaches and to estimate sediment budgets for different time periods by calculating the difference in sediment volume between surveys. In addition, the DEMs provide essential boundary conditions for numerical models of sediment transport and deposition, as well as help define the spatial distribution of habitat for fisheries investigations.

First posted March 26, 2014

For additional information, contact:
GCMRC Staff, Southwest Biological Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center
2255 N. Gemini Drive
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). For best results viewing and printing PDF documents, it is recommended that you download the documents to your computer and open them with Adobe Reader. PDF documents opened from your browser may not display or print as intended. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Kaplinski, M., Hazel, J.E., Jr., Grams, P.E., Davis, P.A., 2014, Monitoring fine-sediment volume in the Colorado River ecosystem, Arizona—Construction and analysis of digital elevation models: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1052, 29 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)




Study Area, Place Names, and Units

Study Reaches

Data Collection and Processing

DEM Construction

DEM Uncertainty



References Cited

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Page Last Modified: Wednesday, December 07, 2016, 07:35:13 PM