Society of African Journal Editors

Nigerian Journal of Technological Development

Visualisation of Uncertainty in 30m Resolution Global Digital Elevation Models: SRTM v3.0 and ASTER v2

Authors: J. O. Olusina, C. J. Okolie

Journal: Nigerian Journal of Technological Development

Geospatial visualisation presents us with innovative techniques of assessing uncertainty in digital elevation datasets. It gives the viewer immediate feedback on potential problems and heightens understanding of effects not easily appreciated when dealing with numerical statistics only. This study evaluated the performance of 30-metre resolution SRTM version 3.0 and ASTER GDEM version 2 over Lagos, Nigeria. Both datasets were examined by direct comparison with 176 highly accurate Ground Control Points (GCPs) coordinated by GPS (Global Positioning System) observation. The basis of comparison was on the elevation differences between the Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) and the GCPs at coincident points. The performance of both DEMs was visualised in 2D and 3D space by comparing pixel values and surface models. In the assessment, the absolute vertical accuracies of SRTM v3.0 and ASTER v2 are 4.23m and 28.73m respectively. The accuracy of SRTM for the study site proved to be higher than the value of 16m presented in the original SRTM requirement specification. ASTER did not meet up with its 17m overall accuracy specification. KEYWORDS : Uncertainty, Visualisation, Digital Elevation Model, SRTM, ASTER.