Geomorphometric application of quasi-global DEMs for semi-automated geomorphological mapping
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Nearly two decades have passed since the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and ten years since the handbook ‘Geomorphometry: Concepts, Software, Applications’ was published. Following these scientific milestones, the quantitative transition of geomorphological research accelerated, GIS-software has provided a series of novel possibilities for (semi)-automated landform analysis. Geomorphometry is an active field, dominated by the development of automated landform delineation and classification methods, all of which intend to overcome the influence of expert subjectivity and to extract information from DEMs in a robust and repeatable fashion. The improving quality and spatial coverage of digital elevation models coupled with the technological innovations have led to the spread of GIS-based geomorphological mapping, while the classical techniques are being gradually replaced. Over the years various specialised software packages have been developed (e.g. LandSerf, MicroDEM, ILWIS, TauDEM, Whitebox Geospatial Analysis Tools, etc.), and as geomorphometry became a central part of Earth Sciences the general-purpose GIS software (ArcGIS, GRASS GIS, SAGA GIS, QuantumGIS) integrated the digital terrain analysing tools as well.