Accuracy assessment of the processed SRTM-based elevation data by CGIAR using field data from USA and Thailand and its relation to the terrain characteristics

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Remote Sensing of Environment
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Oct 30
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Shuttle radar topographic mission (SRTM) has created an unparalleled data set of global elevations that is freely available for modeling and environmental applications. The global availability (almost 80% of the Earth surface) of SRTM data provides baseline information for many types of the worldwide research. The processed SRTM 90 in digital elevation model (DEM) for the entire globe was compiled by Consultative Group for International Agriculture Research Consortium for Spatial Information (CGIAR-CSI) and made available to the public via internet mapping interface. This product presents a great value for scientists dealing with terrain analysis, thanks to its easy download procedure and ready-to-use format. However, overall assessment of the accuracy of this product requires additional regional studies involving ground truth control and accuracy verification methods with higher level of precision, such as the global positioning system (GPS).The study presented in this paper is based on two independent datasets collected with the same GPS system in Catskill Mountains (New York, USA) and Phuket (Thailand). Both datasets were corrected with differential base station data. Statistical analysis included estimation of absolute errors and multiple regression analysis with slope and aspect variables. Data were analyzed for each location separately and in combination. Differences in terrain and geographical location allowed independent interpretation of results.The results of this study showed that absolute average vertical errors from CGIAR dataset can range from 7.58 +/- 0.60 m in Phuket to 4.07 +/- 0.47 m in Catskills (mean S.E.M.). This is significantly better than a standard SRTM accuracy value indicated in its specification (i.e. 16 m). The error values have strong correlation with slope and certain aspect values. Taking into account slope and aspect considerably improved the accuracy of the CGIAR DEM product for terrain with slope values greater than 10 degrees; however, for the terrain with slope values less than 10 degrees, this improvement was found to be negligible. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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DOI 10.1016/j.rse.2006.05.012