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Evaluation of TanDEM-X 90 m Digital Elevation Model

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German Aerospace Center (DLR), EADS Astrium GmbH and Infoterra GmbH alliance came up with the idea of taking DTED-2 (Digital terrain elevation data, level-2) specifications to even higher standard of HRTE-3 (High resolution terrain elevation, level-3) in 2006, as a result TDX (TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X) constellation was born. The mission was geared to create a rather sensitive, high precision 3 dimensional map of the entire Earth in seamless and very high quality. After Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) in 2000 and its derivatives, along with numerous prior and subsequent other similar data, have practically set the standard for defining the topographical surfaces in global scale, the twin satellites acquired all of Earth’s land surfaces numerous times to produce varying resolution digital elevation models (DEM) between 2011 and late 2015. DEMs are widely used in many planning, decision making and engineering related projects. They provide sound backing for mankind’s endeavors. Ground resolution is the most sought after feature of any DEM. Finer resolution is usually associated with a better surface definition. Recently, an entirely new global DEM has been released DLR. The 90 m DEM is the latest variant derived from such an undertaking. This study aimed to examine the overall effectiveness of this alleged new data in four previously surveyed locations and against the performances of finer SRTM 1- and comparable SRTM 3 arc second data. The results showed that TanDEM-X 90 m data overestimated. They seemed to be rather accurate in flat to slightly undulating terrain, but overestimated in broken to treacherous terrain than both SRTMs. Root Mean Square Error was greater in site one and site four, and lower in site two and site three compared to both SRTM 1 and SRTM 3 arc second data.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Forest Engineering, Faculty of Forestry, Kastamonu University, Kastamonu, Turkey

Publication date: April 3, 2019

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