Modeling the uncertainty of slope and aspect estimates derived from spatial databases

Gary J. Hunter, Michael F. Goodchild

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations

Abstract

Estimates of slope and aspect are commonly made from digital elevation models (DEMs), and are subject to the uncertainty present in such models. We show that errors in slope and aspect depend on the spatial structure of DEM errors. We propose a general-purpose model of DEM errors in which a spatially autoregressive random field is added as a disturbance term to elevations. In addition, we propose a general procedure for propagating such errors through GIS operations. In the absence of explicit information on the spatial structure of DEM errors, we demonstrate the potential utility of a worst-case analysis. A series of simulations are used to make general observations about the nature and severity of slope and aspect errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-49
Number of pages15
JournalGeographical Analysis
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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