Extracting topographic structure from digital elevation data for geographic information-system analysis

Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing
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Software tools have been developed at the U.S. Geological Survey's EROS Data Center to extract topographic structure and to delineate watersheds and overland flow paths from digital elevation models. The tools are specialpurpose FORTRAN programs interfaced with general-purpose raster and vector spatial analysis and relational data base management packages.

The first phase of analysis is a conditioning phase that generates three data sets: the original OEM with depressions filled, a data set indicating the flow direction for each cell, and a flow accumulation data set in which each cell receives a value equal to the total number of cells that drain to it. The original OEM and these three derivative data sets can then be processed in a variety of ways to optionally delineate drainage networks, overland paths, watersheds for userspecified locations, sub-watersheds for the major tributaries of a drainage network, or pour point linkages between watersheds. The computer-generated drainage lines and watershed polygons and the pour point linkage information can be transferred to vector-based geographic information systems for futher analysis. Comparisons between these computergenerated features and their manually delineated counterparts generally show close agreement, indicating that these software tools will save analyst time spent in manual interpretation and digitizing.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Extracting topographic structure from digital elevation data for geographic information-system analysis
Series title Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing
Volume 54
Issue 11
Year Published 1988
Language English
Publisher American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 8 p.
First page 1593
Last page 1600
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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