To date, digital terrain model (DTM) accuracy has been studied almost exclusively by computing its height variable. However, the largely ignored horizontal component bears a great influence on the positional accuracy of certain linear features, e.g., in hydrological features. In an effort to fill this gap, we propose a means of measurement different from the geomatic approach, involving fluid mechanics (water and air flows) or aerodynamics. The particle image velocimetry (PIV) algorithm is proposed as an estimator of horizontal differences between digital elevation models (DEM) in grid format. After applying a scale factor to the displacement estimated by the PIV algorithm, the mean error predicted is around one-seventh of the cell size of the DEM with the greatest spatial resolution, and around one-nineteenth of the cell size of the DEM with the least spatial resolution. Our methodology allows all kinds of DTMs to be compared once they are transformed into DEM format, while also allowing comparison of data from diverse capture methods, i.e.
, LiDAR versus
photogrammetric data sources.
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