Catchment properties in the Kruger National Park derived from the new TanDEM-X Intermediate Digital Elevation Model (IDEM)
- 1Department of Geography, Physical Geography, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Jena, Germany
- 2Department of Geography, Earth Observation, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Jena, Germany
Keywords: TanDEM-X, ASTER GDEM2, SRTM, RTK-GNSS, validation, watershed delineation, Savanna, South Africa
Abstract. Digital Elevation Models (DEM) represent fundamental data for a wide range of Earth surface process studies. Over the past years the German TanDEM-X mission acquired data for a new, truly global Digital Elevation Model with unpreceded geometric resolution, precision and accuracy. First processed data sets (i. e. IDEM) with a geometric resolution of 0.4 to 3 arcsec have been made available for scientific purposes. This includes four 1° x 1° tiles covering the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Here we document the results of a local scale IDEM validation exercise utilizing RTK-GNSS-based ground survey points from a dried out reservoir basin and its vicinity characterized by pristine open Savanna vegetation. Selected precursor data sets (SRTM1, SRTM90, ASTER-GDEM2) were included in the analysis and highlight the immense progress in satellite-based Earth surface surveying over the past two decades. Surprisingly, the high precision and accuracy of the IDEM data sets have only little impact on the delineation of watersheds and the calculation of catchment size. But, when it comes to the derivation of topographic catchment properties (e.g. mean slope, etc.) the high resolution of the IDEM04 is of crucial importance, if - from a geomorphologist’s view - it was not for the disturbing vegetation.