Impact of Spatial Interpolation Methods on Digital Elevation Models Quality

Gar Alnabi I. Mohamed, Elshami M. Masaad, Awadelgeed M. Awadelgeed


The main aim of the research presented in this paper is to evaluate the impact and influence of different interpolation methods on the quality of the derived digital elevation model (DEM). The main factors affecting the quality of the DEM are: the data sampling method, data density, terrain complexity, the interpolation method and interpolation parameters. The effort made in this paper is meant to answer questions, such as, what is the best interpolation method that could be used to generate a DEM to satisfy the accuracy level required for a certain application? Upon what criteria an interpolation method could be chosen? To answer such questions an investigation was carried out on digital elevation models generated from different data sources using different interpolation methods. Three data sets with different characteristics, and three interpolation methods, were used in the investigation. The effort made in the investigation clearly revealed the role of the interpolation method selection on the quality of the generated DEM, in general and in particular DEMs generated from data sets of low density and biased distribution. Also the investigation revealed the important role of the interpolation parameters in the performance of the interpolation method.


Keywords: Digital elevation model; Spatial interpolation; Terrain complexity; Sampling; Model quality.

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ISSN: 1858-6333