Elevation models for reproducible evaluation of terrain representation

Patrick J. Kennelly, Tom Patterson, Bernhard Jenny, Daniel P. Huffman, Brooke E. Marston, Sarah Bell, Alexander M. Tait

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This paper proposes elevation models to promote, evaluate, and compare various terrain representation techniques. Our goal is to increase the reproducibility of terrain rendering algorithms and techniques across different scales and landscapes. We introduce elevation models of varying terrain types, available to the user at no cost, with minimal common data imperfections such as missing data values, resampling artifacts, and seams. Three multiscale elevation models are available, each consisting of a set of elevation grids, centered on the same geographic location, with increasing cell sizes and spatial extents. We also propose a collection of single-scale elevation models of archetypal landforms including folded ridges, a braided riverbed, active and stabilized sand dunes, and a volcanic caldera. An inventory of 78 publications with a total of 155 renderings illustrating terrain visualization techniques guided the selection of landform types in the elevation models. The benefits of using the proposed elevation models include straightforward comparison of terrain representation methods across different publications and better documentation of the source data, which increases the reproducibility of terrain representations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-77
Number of pages15
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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