High-resolution topography and anthropogenic feature extraction: testing geomorphometric parameters in floodplains

Authors

  • Giulia Sofia,

    1. Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padova, Legnaro (PD), Italy
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  • Giancarlo Dalla Fontana,

    1. Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padova, Legnaro (PD), Italy
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  • Paolo Tarolli

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padova, Legnaro (PD), Italy
    • Correspondence to: Paolo Tarolli, Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padova Agripolis, viale dell'Università 16, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy.

      E-mail: paolo.tarolli@unipd.it

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Abstract

In floodplains, anthropogenic features such as levees or road scarps, control and influence flows. An up-to-date and accurate digital data about these features are deeply needed for irrigation and flood mitigation purposes. Nowadays, LiDAR Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) covering large areas are available for public authorities, and there is a widespread interest in the application of such models for the automatic or semiautomatic recognition of features. The automatic recognition of levees and road scarps from these models can offer a quick and accurate method to improve topographic databases for large-scale applications. In mountainous contexts, geomorphometric indicators derived from DTMs have been proven to be reliable for feasible applications, and the use of statistical operators as thresholds showed a high reliability to identify features. The goal of this research is to test if similar approaches can be feasible also in floodplains. Three different parameters are tested at different scales on LiDAR DTM. The boxplot is applied to identify an objective threshold for feature extraction, and a filtering procedure is proposed to improve the quality of the extractions. This analysis, in line with other works for different environments, underlined (1) how statistical parameters can offer an objective threshold to identify features with varying shapes, size and height; (2) that the effectiveness of topographic parameters to identify anthropogenic features is related to the dimension of the investigated areas. The analysis also showed that the shape of the investigated area has not much influence on the quality of the results. While the effectiveness of residual topography had already been proven, the proposed study underlined how the use of entropy can anyway provide good extractions, with an overall quality comparable to the one offered by residual topography, and with the only limitation that the extracted features are slightly wider than the investigated one. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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