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Towards a framework for terrain attribute selection in environmental studies


Lecours, V and Devillers, R and Simms, AE and Lucieer, VL and Brown, CJ, Towards a framework for terrain attribute selection in environmental studies, Environmental Modelling and Software, 89 pp. 19-30. ISSN 1364-8152 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2016.11.027


Terrain attributes (e.g. slope, rugosity) derived from digital terrain models are commonly used in environmental studies. The increasing availability of GIS tools that generate those attributes can lead users to select a sub-optimal combination of terrain attributes for their applications. Our objectives were to identify sets of terrain attributes that best capture terrain properties and to assess how they vary with surface complexity. 230 tools from 11 software packages were used to derive terrain attributes from nine surfaces of different topographic complexity levels. Covariation and independence of terrain attributes were explored using three multivariate statistical methods. Distinct groups of correlated terrain attributes were identified, and their importance in describing a surface varied with surface complexity. Terrain attributes were highly covarying and sometimes ambiguously defined within software documentation. We found that a combination of six to seven particular terrain attributes always captures more than 70% of the topographic structure of surfaces.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Terrain attributes, seafloor mapping, GIS, bathymetry, geomorphometry, surrogacy, terrain analysis, topography
Research Division:Engineering
Research Group:Geomatic engineering
Research Field:Geospatial information systems and geospatial data modelling
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Lucieer, VL (Dr Vanessa Lucieer)
ID Code:113449
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:46
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2017-01-03
Last Modified:2018-04-18

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