The case study area ‘Zlatibor’ is located in the South-western part of Serbia (centred at 43°43’44.6’‘N and 19°42’37.8’‘E). The area is mainly hilly plateau, with the exception of the north-east part where the slopes are much steeper. Elevations range from 850 m to a maximum of 1174 m; the total size of the area is 13.5 square kilometers.

Study area Zlatibor: (a) perspective view on the area (1:25,000 topo-map) and location of 1020 error assessment points, (b) a preview of the auxiliary predictors used for the geostatistical modeling

Available layers:

- elevations.txt - a set of 2051 height measurements used for generation of DEMs;
- control.txt - a set of 1020 very precise spot heights used for error assessment;
- dem30.asc - the original topo-map DEM at 30 m resolution;
- SRTMDEM.asc - 3 arcsec (90 m) SRTM DEM;

Grid definition:

ncols: 150
nrows: 100
xllcorner: 7394249
yllcorner: 4841999
cellsize: 30 m

proj4:+proj=tmerc +lat_0=0 +lon_0=21 +k=0.9999 +x_0=7500000 +y_0=0 +ellps=bessel +towgs84=574.027,170.175,401.545,4.88786,-0.66524,-13.24673,0.99999311067 +units=m


The original topo-map DEM was produced by digitizing contour layers from two adjacent sheets of the 1:5000 topographic maps with contour interval of 5 m. Two sheets were scanned by ANATech Evolution scanner with 400 DPI resolution, then georeferenced to the Gauss-Krüger coordinate system (7th zone) and converted to a point map using a semi-automated digitalization of contour lines (I/GEOVEC, Intergraph program module). The faults obtained during automated digitalization were removed by 3D editing of contour lines. The final DEM was produced using the ArcGIS 3D analyst: first a TIN was produced, which was then converted to a regular grid of 30~m resolution. This will be referred to as the topo-DEM in further text. The original points extracted from the topo-map (51,847 points) were sub-sampled (for computational efficiency) to 2051 points.

A set of 1020 photogrammetric control points was provided with the help of the Geodetic governmental authority of Serbia. These were obtained throughout the orthophoto map production of the scale 1:1000 for local municipality. Aerial images were obtained using the RMK 21/23 analog camera with calibrated focal length f=207.96 mm. The average flying altitude was 1040 m. A stereoscopic model was produced using the WILD A10 analog stereo-restitution instrument and MapSoft2000 program package. The land-surface points were measured manually from the stereoscopic model with average lag of 15 m. This gave a total number of 46,021 points that were sub-sampled to 1020 points for faster processing. The estimated height accuracy of control points is 15 cm which allows us to use it as ground truth for the topo-DEM.

Data owner: Geodetic governmental authority of Serbia
Reference: Geostatistical modelling of topography using auxiliary maps
Location: Zlatibor, Serbia
43° 43’ 0.0012” N,19° 41’ 60” E See map: Google Maps




The case study “fishcamp” is of size 1x2 km; located at 37.46353 N; 119.6119 W. The coordinate system used is the UTM NAD83 zone 11 North i.e. EPSG:26911. The complete dataset was obtained from the USGS National Map seamless server.

Fishcamp data layers.

  • 2.5 m LiDAR DEM

  • 1 m color orthoimage

  • Topo-map 1:25k (contour lines)

  • 10 and 25 m DEMs

Available layers:

- DEM2m.asc - 2.5 m DEM derived from the LiDAR survey (ground reflectance);
- DEMNED03.asc - 10 m National Elevation Dataset;
- DEMSRTM1.asc - 1 arcsec SRTM DEM (finilized);
- lidar.shp - subsampled LiDAR point measurements (the original dataset consist of over 5 milion of points);
- orthoimg.lan - National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) Orthoimagery for Zone 11;
- topo24k.lan - 1:24k topo-map “White Chief Mountain, CA (37119-D5-TF-024);
- contours.shp - contours digitized from the topo24k map; - tstreams.shp - contour lines digitized from the topo map;

Grid definition:
ncols: 400
nrows: 200
xllcorner: 267999
yllcorner: 4148999
cellsize: 5 m

proj4:+init=epsg:26911 +proj=utm +zone=11 +ellps=GRS80 +datum=NAD83 +units=m +no_defs +towgs84=0,0,0

The data set was obtained from the USGS National Map seamless server ( The map of soil mapping units was obtained from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Soil Data Mart ( The scripts used to predict soil mapping units and extract landforms are available via the authors website. The elevations range from 1400 to 1800 meters. There are six soil mapping units: (1) Holland family, 35 to 65% slopes; (2) Chaix-chawanakee family-rock outcrop complex; (3) Chaix family, deep, 5 to 25% slopes; (4) Chaix family, deep, 15 to 45% slopes, (5) Holland family, 5 to 65% slopes, valleys; (6) Chaix-chawanakee families-rock outcrop complex, hilltops.

Data owner: USGS
Reference: A Practical Guide to Geostatistical Mapping of Environmental Variables

Location:Fishcamp, United States
37° 27’ 48.708” N,119° 36’ 42.84” W
See map: Google Maps


Baranja hill

The Baranja Hill study area, located in eastern Croatia, has been mapped extensively over the years and several GIS layers are available at various scales. Its main geomorphic features include hill summits and shoulders, eroded slopes of small valleys, valley bottoms, a large abandoned river channel, and river terraces. All raster images are prepared in the ArcInfo ASCI grid format. The vector maps are prepared as shape files. In addition to the GIS layers, you might also need to use the field observations. Courtesy of the Croatian State Geodetic Department.

Fig: preview of the main GIS layers

  • Topomap 1:5K

  • 25m DEM

  • Geoforms

  • Landcover

  • Orthophoto

  • Landsat

  • Contours

  • 25m SRTM

This data set has been used extensively in the Geomorphometry book:

Hengl, T., Reuter, H.I. (eds) 2008.Geomorphometry: Concepts, Software, Applications. Developments in Soil Science, vol. 33, Elsevier, 772 pp. ISBN: 978-0-12-374345-9

Available layers:

- DEM25m - 25 m resolution DEM derived from the 1:5K contours (ArcInfo ASCI grid format);
- contours.shp - Contour lines digitized from the 1:50K topo maps (ESRI Shapefile);
- contours5K.shp - Contour lines digitized from the 1:5K topo maps (ESRI Shapefile);
- wstreams.shp - Streams and water bodies digitized from the 1:50K topo maps (ESRI Shapefile);
- elevations.shp - very precise elevation measurements from 1:5K land survey (ESRI Shapefile);
- DEM25srtm.asc - 25 m resolution DEM from SRTM 2000 project ordered via (ArcInfo ASCI grid format);
- orthophoto.tif - 5 m resolution ortophoto (ArcInfo ASCI grid format);
- topo5K.tif - Topo map 1:5000 (geotif, 23 MB);
- satimage.lan - 25 m resolution Landsat 7 image from September 1999 (ERDAS .lan format);
- landcover.shp - Land cover map digitized from the ortophoto (ESRI Shapefile);
- geoform.shp - Map of the geoforms using the geopedological approach (ESRI Shapefile);Grid definition:

ncols: 147
nrows: 149
xllcorner: 6551884
yllcorner: 5070562
cellsize: 25 mproj4:+proj=tmerc +lat_0=0 +lon_0=18 +k=0.9999 +x_0=6500000 +y_0=0 +ellps=bessel +towgs84=550.499,164.116,475.142,5.80967,2.07902,-11.62386,0.99999445824 +units=mLineage:

50K and 5K scale topomaps and aerial photo have been obtained from the Croatian State Geodetic Department ( Orthorectified photo was produced following the methodology explained in Rossiter & Hengl (2002). From the orthophoto we digitized on-screen land cover polygon map using the following classes: agricultural fields, fish ponds, natural forest, pasture and grassland, and urban areas. From the stereo-pairs we interpreted the generic landforms and then created a polygon map of geoforms (see also Rossiter & Hengl (2002)). Nine landform elements were recognised: summit, hill shoulder, escarpment, colluvium, hillslope, valley bottom, glacis (sloping), high terrace (tread) and low terrace (tread). From topomaps, we extracted contours and streams and water bodies. In the case of 1:50K the equidistance was 20 m in hilland and 5 m in plain, and for the 1:5K the equidistance was 5 m in hilland and 1 m in plain. From the 1:5K contours and geodetic points, the 5 m DEM has been derived using the ANUDEM (topogrid) procedure in ArcInfo and then resampled to the 25 m gird. The 30 m SRTM DEM (15’x15’ block) was ordered from the German Aerospace Agency (, then resampled to the 25 grid so it can be compared with the DEM25m. IMPORTANT NOTE: According to a licence agreement, the SRTM dataset can not be distributed or used for commercial purposes outside this project.

Data owner: Croatian State Geodetic Department
Reference: Technical note: Creating geometrically-correct photo-interpretations, photomosaics, and base maps for a project GIS (PDF)

Location: Baranja hill, Popovac, Croatia
45° 48’ 16.4412” N, 18° 39’ 54.198” E See map: Google Maps



Foreword to Geomorphometry 2009

On behalf of the organisers we would like to extend a warm welcome to all participants of Geomorphometry 2009 in Zurich. The Geomorphometry 2009 conference continues a series initiated by the Terrain Analysis and Digital Terrain Modelling conference hosted by Nanjing Normal University in November 2006.

Geomorphometry 2009 brings together researchers to present and discuss developments in the field of quantitative modelling and analysis of elevation data. Geomorphometry is the science of quantitative land-surface analysis and description at diverse spatial scales. It draws upon mathematical, statistical and image-processing techniques and interfaces with many disciplines including hydrology, geology, computational geometry, geomorphology, remote sensing, geographic information science and geography.

For the conference, a total of 53 extended abstracts, with authors from 21 countries were submitted for review by the programme committee. Of these, a total of 37 were accepted for presentation at the conference. We believe that the conference programme offers a rich and varied insight into the key themes in geomorphometry today, with a mix of leading researchers in the field presenting methodological advances and young researchers presenting high quality reviewed work to an international audience.

The conference also hosts three keynote speakers. We are delighted that Professor David Mark, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geography at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Dr Jo Wood, Reader in GIScience at the Department for Information Science at City University, London will both give presentations on how they have seen development progressing in Geomorphometry during their extensive experience of the field. Furthermore, Stephan Landtwing of BSF Swissphoto, a key producer of LIDAR and other remotely sensed data in Switzerland, will give an industrial keynote – an excellent opportunity for the conference attendees to interface with data producers and better understand issues related to key data sources in geomorphometry.

The conference also hosted two workshops with very different themes, entitled Automated analysis of elevation data in R+ILWIS/SAGA and Back to reality – Reconciling geomorphometry and geomorphology in the field respectively, providing attendees with the opportunity to get their hands dirty figuratively at the computer screen, and literally in the field!

Finally, we would like to thank all of those who make events such as this a success. Our programme committee, who on time and carefully reviewed a large number of papers, our keynote speakers, the workshop organisers, and all those who helped in the local organisation, especially Dagmar Brandova who dealt with registration, as well as the University of Zurich for providing the conference facilities. Finally, and most importantly, we would like to thank the conference participants – without your work and participation there would be no conference. We hope your stay in Zurich will be an enjoyable and stimulating one.

Ross Purves, Stephan Gruber, Tomislav Hengl and Ralph Straumann August 15th, 2009

Attachment: foreword

The Terrain Analysis System (TAS) now available as open-source GIS project

The creator of the Terrain Analysis System (TAS) has decided to migrate his package to open source. The new version of the software, now called “Whitebox Geospatial Analysis Tools” is available for download from the department homepages.

Prof. John Lindsay is currently looking for potential graduate students (Masters) to join his research programme at the University of Guelph. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact him.

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.