Residual relief separation: digital elevation model enhancement for geomorphological mapping

Hillier, J. K. and Smith, M. (2008) Residual relief separation: digital elevation model enhancement for geomorphological mapping. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 33 (14). pp. 2266-2276. DOI

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Geomorphologically mapped data form a primary set of observations that can be used to infer former environmental conditions. Thus, objective and consistent mapping of landforms from remotely sensed data (e.g. satellite imagery, digital elevation models (DEMs)) is paramount for reconstructing palaeoenvironments. This paper proposes a technique, residual relief separation, to enhance landforms in DEMs prior to visualization and digital mapping. This is applied to a 600 km2 region surrounding Lough Gara, Ireland, where drumlins (200 m wide) overlie a regional relief of hills (10 km wide). Here, residual relief separation uses this difference in width-scale. Regional relief is approximated by a 1 km wide median filter, then subtracted to leave the drumlins in a residual topography. In a second step, the residual relief is normalized to allow for amplitude variations in the drumlins across the area (5-40 m high). Finally, visualization uses a simple black-to-white colour scale for height. Although not numerically outperforming other visualization techniques, this method performs equally well, and as the data are not illuminated there is no azimuthal bias. Additional benefits include the relatively simple calculation, intuitive visual comprehension, no emphasis of noise, and the possibility of using any desired visualization technique after the landscape has been topographically manipulated

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 08AREP IA55
Subjects: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Divisions: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Journal or Publication Title: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
Volume: 33
Page Range: pp. 2266-2276
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2009 13:02
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 10:07

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