Terrain Mapping: Automatic Contouring (Especially for GATE-Geospatial 2022)

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Terrain mapping is a classification system that describes the characteristics and spatial distribution of surficial materials, landforms, and geomorphological processes. Automated contouring follows two basic steps:

  • Detecting a contour line intersecting a grid cell or a triangle.
  • Drawing the contour line through the grid cell or triangle.

Contouring is most common method for terrain mapping. Contour lines connect points of equal elevation (isolines) . Contour intervals represent the vertical distance between contour lines. Arrangement of contour lines reflects topography.

Figure Shows Contour Mapping

Digital Contour Maps

  • Contours are usually available as sequence of points.
  • A line interpolating points of a contour can be obtained in different ways.
  • Example: polygonal chains, or lines described by higher order equations
Figure Shows Digital Contour Maps - Polygonal Chains

Digital Contour Maps: Properties

  • They are easily drawn on paper
  • They are very intuitive for humans
  • They are not good for complex automated terrain analysis
Figure Shows Digital Contour Maps - Properties

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