In this study, we use Pléiades tri-stereo data to generate a digital elevation model (DEM) from the Pléiades images using a workflow employing semi-global matching (SGM). We examine the DEM accuracy in complex mountain glaciated terrain by comparing the new DEMs with an independent high-quality DEM based on airborne laser scanning (ALS) data for a study area in the Austrian Alps, and with ground control points for a study area in the Khumbu Himal of Nepal. The DEMs derived using the SGM algorithm compare well to the independent high-quality ALS DEM, and the workflow produces models of sufficient quality to resolve ground control points, which are based on Pléiades imagery that are of sufficient quality to perform high spatio-temporal resolution assessments of remote areas for which no field data is available. The relative accuracy is sufficient to investigate glacier surface elevation changes below one meter, and can therefore be applied over relatively short periods of time, such as those required for annual and seasonal assessments of change. The annual geodetic mass balance for the Alpine case derived from our DEM compares well to the glaciological mass balance, and multitemporal DEM analysis is used to resolve the seasonal changes of five glaciers in the Khumbu Himal, revealing that glaciological processes such as accumulation, ablation, and glacier movement mainly take place during the summer season, with the winter season being largely inactive in the year sampled.
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