ANALYSIS AND VALIDATION OF GRID DEM GENERATION BASED ON GAUSSIAN MARKOV RANDOM FIELD
Keywords: DEM, Gaussian Markov Random Field, Spatial Modelling, Interpolation Methods, Uncertainty, LiDAR
Abstract. Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) are considered as one of the most relevant geospatial data to carry out land-cover and land-use classification. This work deals with the application of a mathematical framework based on a Gaussian Markov Random Field (GMRF) to interpolate grid DEMs from scattered elevation data. The performance of the GMRF interpolation model was tested on a set of LiDAR data (0.87 points/m2) provided by the Spanish Government (PNOA Programme) over a complex working area mainly covered by greenhouses in Almería, Spain. The original LiDAR data was decimated by randomly removing different fractions of the original points (from 10% to up to 99% of points removed). In every case, the remaining points (scattered observed points) were used to obtain a 1 m grid spacing GMRF-interpolated Digital Surface Model (DSM) whose accuracy was assessed by means of the set of previously extracted checkpoints. The GMRF accuracy results were compared with those provided by the widely known Triangulation with Linear Interpolation (TLI). Finally, the GMRF method was applied to a real-world case consisting of filling the LiDAR-derived DSM gaps after manually filtering out non-ground points to obtain a Digital Terrain Model (DTM). Regarding accuracy, both GMRF and TLI produced visually pleasing and similar results in terms of vertical accuracy. As an added bonus, the GMRF mathematical framework makes possible to both retrieve the estimated uncertainty for every interpolated elevation point (the DEM uncertainty) and include break lines or terrain discontinuities between adjacent cells to produce higher quality DTMs.