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The Naked Truth About The Australian Landscape

Date:
October 1, 2009
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
Scientists have removed approximately 90 per cent of Australia’s vegetation cover from satellite images of the continent to produce the most detailed available Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of its topography.

Satellite images near Culcairn in NSW showing the topography with vegetation (left) and without vegetation (right).

Scientists from CSIRO’s Water for a Healthy Country Flagship have removed approximately 90 per cent of Australia’s vegetation cover from satellite images of the continent to produce the most detailed available Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of its topography.

“The DEM will revolutionise geological applications, land-use studies, soil science, and much more,” CSIRO’s Dr John Gallant said in an address today to the Spatial Sciences Conference in Adelaide

“Produced at a one-second resolution – about 30 metres – the DEM exposes intimate details about Australia’s landscape features. As a result, we can now clearly make out the shape of our landscape and understand how water might move across its surface, how it came to be its present shape and how variable our soil terrains are.”

Since releasing the Digital Surface Model (DSM) last year, the new vegetation removal process has also resulted in a ‘spin-off’ vegetation height map that may be useful for calculating biomass and contributing to carbon accounting.

The DEM will provide a body of information related to water resources and is a key activity within the water information research and development alliance between the Flagship and the Bureau of Meteorology’s ‘Improving Water Information Program’.

The final phase of building the one-second resolution DEM will occur over the next year with the inclusion of Australia’s river network to produce a drainage-enforced DEM that will assist the Bureau to generate water accounts for the continent.

The DEM is based on the Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) satellite data collected by NASA during its Space Shuttle mission in 2000.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "The Naked Truth About The Australian Landscape." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001091805.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (2009, October 1). The Naked Truth About The Australian Landscape. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001091805.htm
CSIRO Australia. "The Naked Truth About The Australian Landscape." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001091805.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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