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Open Access Capability of SRTM C- and X-band DEM Data to Measure Water Elevations in Ohio and the Amazon

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We analyze Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) water surface elevation data to assess the capacity of interferometric radar for future surface water missions. Elevations from three Ohio reservoirs and several Amazon floodplain lakes have standard deviations, interpreted as errors, that are smaller in C-band compared to X-band and are smaller in Ohio than in the Amazon. These trends are also evident when comparing water surface elevations from the Muskingum River in Ohio with those of the Amazon River. Differences are attributed to increased averaging in C-band compared to X-band, greater sensitivity to surface water motion in X-band, and generally larger off-nadir look angles in X-band. Absolute water surface elevations are greater in the C-band DEM for much of the two study areas and yield expected slope values. Height and slope differences are attributed to differing usage of geoids and ellipsoids. These SRTM measurements suggest the great possibility for space-based, laterally-spatial (2D) measurements of water surface elevations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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  • The official journal of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing - the Imaging and Geospatial Information Society (ASPRS). This highly respected publication covers all facets of photogrammetry and remote sensing methods and technologies.

    Founded in 1934, the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) is a scientific association serving over 7,000 professional members around the world. Our mission is to advance knowledge and improve understanding of mapping sciences to promote the responsible applications of photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and supporting technologies.
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