Scale is one of the most important but unsolved issues in various scientific disciplines that deal with spatial data. The arbitrary choice of grid cell size for contour interpolated digital elevation models (DEM) is one of the major sources of uncertainty in the hydrologic modelling process. In this paper, an attempt was made to identify methods for determining an optimum cell size for a contour interpolated DEM in prior to hydrologic modelling. Twenty-meter interval contour lines were used to generate DEMs of five different resolutions, viz., 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90 m using TOPOGRID algorithm. The obtained DEMs were explored for their intrinsic quality using four different methods, i.e., sink analysis, fractal dimension of derived stream network, entropy measurement and semivariogram modelling. These methods were applied to determine the level artifacts (interpolation error) in DEM surface as well as derived stream network, spatial information content and spatial variability respectively. The results indicated that a 90 m cell size is sufficient to capture the terrain variability for subsequent hydrologic modelling in the study area. The significance of this research work is that it provides methods which DEM users can apply to select an appropriate DEM cell size in prior to detailed hydrologic modelling.
Volume 129, 2020
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