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Locating some types of random errors in Digital Terrain Models

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The increasing use of Geographical Information System applications has generated a strong interest in the assessment of data quality. As an example of quantitative raster data, we analysed errors in Digital Terrain Models (DTM). Errors might be classified as systematic (strongly dependent on the production methodology) and random. The present work attempts to locate some types of randomly distributed, weakly spatially correlated errors by applying a new methodology based on Principal Components Analysis. The Principal Components approach presented is very different from the typical scheme used in image processing. A prototype implementation has been conducted using MATLAB, and the overall procedure has been numerically tested using a Monte Carlo approach. A DTM of Stockholm, with integer-valued heights varying from 0 to 59 m has been used as a testbed.The model was contaminated by adding randomly located errors, distributed uniformly within 4 m and 4m. The procedure has been applied using both spike shaped (isolated errors) and pyramid-like errors. The preliminary results show that for the former, roughly half of the errors have been located with a Type I error probability of 4.6 per cent on average, checking up to 1 per cent of the dataset. The associated Type II error of the larger errors (of exactly 4m or 4 m) drops from an initial value of 1.21 per cent down to 0.63 per cent. By checking another 1 per cent of the dataset, such error drops to 0.34 per cent implying that about 71 per cent of the 4m errors have been located; Type I error was below 11.27 per cent. The results for pyramid-like errors are slightly worse, with a Type I error of 25.80 per cent on average for the first 1 per cent effort, and a Type II error drop from an initial value of 0.81 per cent down to 0.65 per cent. The procedure can be applied both for error detection during the DTM generation and by end users. It might also be used for other types of quantitative raster data.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1997

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