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Sensors 2008, 8(6), 3819-3829;

An Assessment of the Altimetric Information Derived from Spaceborne SAR (RADARSAT-1, SRTM3) and Optical (ASTER) Data for Cartographic Application in the Amazon Region

National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Remote Sensing Division (DSR). São José dos Campos, 12227- 010. São Paulo State, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 April 2008 / Revised: 27 May 2008 / Accepted: 28 May 2008 / Published: 6 June 2008
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR))
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Difficulties in acquiring a complete aerial photography coverage on a regular basis in the Brazilian Amazon due to adverse environmental conditions affect the quality of the national topographic database. As a consequence, topographic information is still poor, and when available needs to be up-dated or re-mapped. In this research, altimetric information derived from RADARSAT-1 (Fine and Standard modes), SRTM3 (3 arcseconds) and ASTER (band 3N-3B) was evaluated for topographic mapping in two sites located in the region: Serra dos Carajás (mountainous relief) and Tapajós National Forest (flat terrain). The quality of the information produced from Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) was evaluated regarding field altimetric measurements. Precise topographic field information acquired from Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) was used as Ground Control Points (GCPs) for the modeling of the stereoscopic DEMs (RADARSAT- 1, ASTER) and as Independent Check Points (ICPs) for the calculation of accuracies of the products. The accuracies were estimated by comparison of the DEMs values and real elevation values given by ICPs. The analysis was performed following two approaches: (1) the use of Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) for the overall classification of the DEMs considering the Brazilian Map Accuracy Standards (PEC) limits and, (2) calculations of trend analysis and accuracy based on a methodology that takes into account computed discrepancies and standard deviations. The investigation has shown that for flat relief, the altimetric accuracy of SRTM3 and Fine RADARSAT-1 DEMs fulfilled the PEC requirements for 1:100,000 A Class Map. However, for mountainous terrain, only the altimetry of SRTM3 and ASTER fulfilled these requirements. In addition, the performance of ASTER was slightly superior to SRTM3. However it is important to consider the difficulties in the acquisition of good stereo-pairs with optical data in the Amazon and the additional cost (GCPs) to produce ASTER DEMs. Despite showing systematic errors, the findings justify the usage of SRTM3 as a primary elevation source for semi-detailed topographic mapping in the region. It is suggested a combination of altimetry derived for SRTM3 and planimetry extracted from high-resolution SAR (ALOS/PALSAR, TerraSARX, RADARSAT-2) or if available optical data for semi-detailed topographic mapping programs in the Brazilian Amazon, where terrain information is seldom available or presents low quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: SRTM3; RADARSAT-1; ASTER; topographic mapping; Amazon Region. SRTM3; RADARSAT-1; ASTER; topographic mapping; Amazon Region.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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De Oliveira, C.G.; Paradella, W.R. An Assessment of the Altimetric Information Derived from Spaceborne SAR (RADARSAT-1, SRTM3) and Optical (ASTER) Data for Cartographic Application in the Amazon Region. Sensors 2008, 8, 3819-3829.

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