New Parallel version of Hydrologic Terrain Analysis Software TauDEM

Geomorphometry followers may be interested in the new version of my TauDEM (Terrain Analysis Using DEMs) software available from

TauDEM is free and open source. It comprises a set of Digital Elevation Model (DEM) tools for the extraction and analysis of hydrologic information from topography as represented by a DEM.

The new version, TauDEM 5.0 takes advantage of parallel programming using the message passing interface (MPI) and achieves improved runtime efficiency and the capability to run larger problems.

TauDEM includes functions for the development of hydrologically correct (pit removed) DEMs, calculation of flow paths, contributing area, stream networks and other flow related derived information. Its unique features are that it uses the D-Infinity flow model for evaluation of information derived from dispersed flow over hillslopes and provides objective methods for the determination of stream network delineation thresholds.

The parallel version (TauDEM 5.0) has been completely restructured as a set of command line functions in standard C++ using MPICH2. The source code has been compiled for both PC’s and parallel clusters. GeoTiff is used as the input/output file format so that the command line functions that provide core functionality are platform independent. TauDEM does include an ArcGIS toolbox Graphical User Interface (for ArcGIS 9.3.1) that has been recoded to use system calls to these command line executables.

The development of TauDEM 5.0 was supported by the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center under contracts W9124Z-08-P-0420 and W912HZ-09-C-0112.

North Carolina coast LiDAR

This dataset contains a series of x,y,z LiDAR point cloud data in csv format, delimited by comma. Points are projected in the NC State Plane EPSG 3358 coordinate system with units meters.

To get more better representation of structures from LiDAR surveys,
re-interpolate to 0.3-0.5m resolution using the available external point clouds

Available layers:

  • “JR_NED_*” - 1/3 and 1/9-Arc Second National Elevation Dataset (2 m);
  • “ortho_JR_*” - Time series of ortho photos (1932, 1945, 1955, 1974, 1988, 1998, 2007, 2009);
  • “JR_*.csv” - Time series of point clouds from LiDAR (1974, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009)

Grid definition:

min max
x 912884 914112
y 250049 250905

cellsize: 2 m
cells.dim: 614 by 428

proj4: +proj=lcc +lat_1=36.16666666666666 +lat_2=34.33333333333334 +lat_0=33.75 +lon_0=-79 +x_0=609601.22 +y_0=0 +ellps=GRS80 +units=m +no_defs


All other data sets are from lidar, but the coverage varies, some data sets cover only beach and foredune area and do not include the main dune. Date of the surveys is in the name of of the file in the form YYYY_MM_DD.

Data owner: USGS / NCSU
Reference: Landscape dynamics from LiDAR data time series
Location: NC, United States
35° 57’ 41.148” N, 75° 37’ 49.152” W
See map: Google Maps

















Geomorphometry Newsletter September 2011

The 4th international conference + workshops on Geomorphometry / Digital terrain modelling and analysis will be held next year in Nanjing, China. If you have not done already, put this date in your agenda: October 16-20, 2013 (Wednesday to Sunday). We expect again an exciting programme with several workshops and training sessions. This edition of Geomorphometry is kindly sponsored by the Geographical Society of China, National Natural Science Foundation of China, Key Laboratory of Virtual Geographical Environment, Ministry of Education, and Nanjing Normal University. For all other info please refer to

Colleagues from ESRI are actively producing geomorphometry tools and data sets for public use. This is an example of a multiscale slope map built using the ArcGIS JavaScript API. The ESRI’s World Elevation Services is expected to become fully operational in mid 2012. It will contain image services, data download services, and analysis task services available, as well as sample applications.

Google has recently released a Google Elevation service. The Elevation service provides SRTM/bathymetry elevation data for locations on the surface of the earth, including depth locations on the ocean floor (negative values). It can be used to produce elevation paths and get elevations for any point on Earth’s surface (maximum of 2,500 requests per day).

Have you missed the Geomorphometry 2011 conference? No problem. All presentations from Geomorphometry 2011 are available via the ESRI proceedings website. All papers and attached datasets can also be accessed freely from the Geomorphometry homepage.

TanDEM-X is the new generation satellite (owned by the German Aerospace Center) that aims at producing new generation radar-based DEMs with a horizontal detail of 12 meters) and a height accuracy of better than 2 m. The data will likely not be publicly available, but the new global DEM will completely change the world of geomorphometry.

A recent geography Master’s thesis by Jason Goetz from the University of Waterloo, Canada utilizes terrain analysis tools implemented in open-source software (SAGA GIS, R) for exploring the regional controls of landslide initiation on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. A nonparametric regression technique, the generalized additive model (GAM), was used to model the relationship of topography, climate, forest harvesting activities and geology to landslide initiation, underlining the importance of the impacts of logging roads. Based on the model predictions, the most susceptible 4% of the study area had 29 times higher density of landslide initiation points than the least susceptible 73% of the study area,

Results e-democracy 2011

1 Organization of the society  
  We should stay a small society 23
  We should try to get anybody working with DEMs involved 8
2 I would like to nominate (for chair)  
  A-Xing Zhu, University of Wisconsin, USA 2
  Helena Mitasova North Carolina State University, USA 8
  Ian Evans Durham University, UK 7
  John Gallant CSIRO, Australia 7
  John P. Wilson University of Southern California, USA 2
  Peter L. Guth US Naval Academy, USA 1
  Robert A. MacMillan, LandMapper, Canada 3
3 I would like to nominate (for vice-chair)  
  Carlos H. Grohmann, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil 3
  Hannes I. Reuter, ISRIC, the Netherlands 7
  Igor V. Florinsky, Institute of Mathematical Problems of Biology, Russia 3
  Lucian Dragut, University of Salzburg, Austria 3
  Lynn Usery, USGS Center for Excellence for GIS, USA 1
  Steve Kopp, ESRI, USA 1
  Tomislav Hengl, University of Wageningen, the Netherlands 13
4 My say on the conference content  
  We should focus on the DEM analysis methods 4
  We hould have a balanced combination of both 24
  We should have more technology in the programme 3
5 My say on the financial matters  
  I do not mind the costs if the programme is good 15
  The registration fees should not exceed 100 USD per day 6
  The registration fees should not exceed 150 USD per day 2
  The registration fees should not exceed 80 USD per day 8
6 I would also like to discuss…  
  Left Blank 27
  User entered value 4
  Average submission length in words (ex blanks) 25.25
7 Prefered location of the next meeting  
  Asia 8
  Europe 10
  Let the scientific committee decide 4
  North America 1
  South America 8

Attachment e_democracy_2011.xls

Geomorphometry group at

Following our 2011 conference in Redlands we created a group called geomorphomerty at The objective is to facilitate and engage a larger community of people around the world outside, especially esri users as well as the general GIS community.

Group members can create and share maps within the group and to the public as well. As a start a selection of global landforms maps are displayed, which will be expanded in the future.

Latest Posts

ANADEM: A Digital Terrain Model for South America

There is a new paper (open access) describing a Machine Learning-based DTM for South America:

Laipelt L., Andrade B.C., Collischonn W., Teixeira A.A., Paiva R.C.D., Ruhoff A., 2024. ANADEM: A Digital Terrain Model for South America. Remote Sensing 16(13):2321.

GRASS GIS 8.4.0RC1 release

The GRASS GIS 8.4.0RC1 release provides more than 515 improvements and fixes with respect to the release 8.3.2.

Check the full announcement at

Please support in testing this release candidate.

Best BiCubic Method to Compute the Planimetric Misregistration between Images with Sub-Pixel Accuracy: Application to Digital Elevation Models

There is a new paper (open access) describing a novel method to estimate sub-pixel planimetric displacements between two DEMs:

Riazanoff, S.; Corseaux, A.; Albinet, C.; Strobl, P.A.; López-Vázquez, C.; Guth, P.L.; Tadono, T. Best BiCubic Method to Compute the Planimetric Misregistration between Images with Sub-Pixel Accuracy: Application to Digital Elevation Models. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 13, 96.