This is an open access article, free of all copyright, made available under the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication. This work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose.
Recent increase in the production of high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) from lidar data has led to interest in their use for terrain mapping. Although the impact of different resolutions has been studied relative to terrain characteristics like roughness, slope and curvature, its relationship to the extraction of terrain features remains unclear. To address this question, this study tests the impact of four resolutions on the capture of glacial cirques from DEMs. Mean curvature was derived from one arc-second, one-third arc-second, one-ninth arc-second and half meter DEMs representing a cirque-covered mountainous region southwest of Lake Tahoe, California. Using a GEOBIA workflow, ridge objects were identified, and three scales - via the multi-resolution scale parameter (SP) - of objects bordering the ridges were classified as cirque objects. The resulting classifications were compared to reference cirques digitized at a scale of ~1:10,000. Results show that the one-third arc-second DEM produces the set of cirque objects most closely resembling the reference cirques. The one-ninth arc-second DEM afforded the second-best classification. These results emphasize the importance in carefully choosing resolution relative to the features extracted, rather than using the highest resolution data available. In the case of GEOBIA workflows, the choice of scale parameter is equally important.
This is a preprint submission to PeerJ Preprints for the Geomorphometry 2018 conference proceedings.