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Principles of digital terrain modelling

Topography is a base of landscape and one of the main factors controlling processes taking place in the near-surface layer of the planet.

 

Digital terrain modelling (geomorphometry) is a science of quantitative modelling and analysis of the topographic surface and relationships between topography and other natural and artificial components of geosystems. Digital terrain modelling is widely used to solve various multiscale problems of geomorphology, hydrology, soil science, geobotany, geology, glaciology, oceanology, climatology, and other disciplines.

 

Digital elevation models (DEMs), two-dimensional discrete functions of elevation, are the main source of information on topography. DEMs are used to calculate digital terrain models (DTMs), two-dimensional discrete functions of morphometric variables.

 

·     Local morphometric variables:

-    Slope gradient

-    Slope aspect

-    Horizontal curvature

-    Vertical curvature

-    Minimal curvature

-    Maximal curvature

-    Mean curvature

-    Difference curvature

-    Gaussian curvature

-    Horizontal excess curvature

-    Vertical excess curvature

-    Accumulation curvature

-    Ring curvature

-    Unsphericity curvature

-    Rotor

·     Nonlocal morphometric variables:

-    Catchment area

-    Dispersive area

·     Solar morphometric variables:

-    Reflectance

-    Insolation

·     Combined morphometric variables:

-    Topographic index

-    Stream power index

 

Being a morphometric variable, elevation does not belong to any type. All other morphometric variables are derived from DEMs.

 

For details and examples, see:

DIGITAL TERRAIN ANALYSIS

IN SOIL SCIENCE AND GEOLOGY

 

2nd revised edition

 

 

I.V. Florinsky

 

Elsevier / Academic Press, 2016

Amsterdam, 486 p.

 

ISBN 978-0-12-804632-6

 

 

 

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