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Volumetric Obscurance as a New Tool to Better Visualize Relief from Digital Elevation Models

Abstract : The use of digital elevation models (DEMs) has become much more widespread in recent years, thanks to technological developments that facilitate their creation and availability. To exploit these data, a set of processing techniques has been developed to reveal the characteristic structures of the relief. This paper presents a new method based on the volumetric approach, and two derivatives. These methods are evaluated on three DEMs at different resolutions and scales: a freely accessible DEM from JAXA DEM covering part of NorthEast Tanzania, a DEM corresponding to rock art in Siberia, and a DEM of an archaeological Bronze Age funeral structure. Our results show that with the volumetric approach, concave and convex areas are clearly visible, with contrast marking slope breaks, while the overall relief is attenuated. Furthermore, the use of volume reduces the impact of noise, which can occur when processing is based on sky visibility (e.g., sky-view factor or positive openness) or second derivatives. Finally, the volumetric approach allows the implementation of a vertical exaggeration factor, the result of which will enhance the particular characteristics of the landscape. The present study comes with a standalone executable program for Windows, a QGIS plugin, and the scripts written in Python, including GPU compute capability (via CUDA) for faster processing.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03576510
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Submitted on : Wednesday, February 16, 2022 - 10:05:25 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 22, 2022 - 8:10:31 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, May 17, 2022 - 6:15:25 PM

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Tanguy Rolland, Fabrice Monna, Jean-François Buoncristiani, Jérôme Magail, Yury Esin, et al.. Volumetric Obscurance as a New Tool to Better Visualize Relief from Digital Elevation Models. Remote Sensing, MDPI, 2022, 14 (4), pp.941. ⟨10.3390/rs14040941⟩. ⟨hal-03576510⟩

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