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Geoscience Australia, 3 second SRTM Digital Elevation Model (DEM) v01


This dataset and its metadata statement were supplied to the Bioregional Assessment Programme by a third party and are presented here as originally supplied.

The 3 second (\~90m) Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) Digital Elevation Model (DEM) version 1.0 was derived from resampling the 1 arc second (\~30m) gridded DEM (ANZCW0703013355). The DEM represents ground surface topography, and excludes vegetation features. The dataset was derived from the 1 second Digital Surface Model (DSM; ANZCW0703013336) by automatically removing vegetation offsets identified using several vegetation maps and directly from the DSM. The 1 second product provides substantial improvements in the quality and consistency of the data relative to the original SRTM data, but is not free from artefacts. Man-made structures such as urban areas and power line towers have not been treated. The removal of vegetation effects has produced satisfactory results over most of the continent and areas with defects are identified in the quality assessment layers distributed with the data and described in the User Guide (Geoscience Australia and CSIRO Land & Water, 2010). A full description of the methods is in progress (Read et al., in prep; Gallant et al., in prep). The 3 second DEM was produced for use by government and the public under Creative Commons attribution.

The 3 second DSM and smoothed DEM are also available (DSM; ANZCW0703014216,

DEM-S; ANZCW0703014217).

Dataset History

Source data

  1. SRTM 1 second Version 2 data (Slater et al., 2006), supplied by Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO) as 813 1 x 1 degree tiles. Data was produced by NASA from radar data collected by the Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission in February 2000.

  2. GEODATA 9 second DEM Version 3 (Geoscience Australia, 2008) used to fill voids.

  3. SRTM Water Body Data (SWBD) shapefile accompanying the SRTM data (Slater et al., 2006). This defines the coastline and larger inland waterbodies for the DEM and DSM.

  4. Vegetation masks and water masks applied to the DEM to remove vegetation.

  5. 1 second DEM resampled to 3 second DEM.

1 second DSM processing

The 1 second SRTM-derived Digital Surface Model (DSM) was derived from the 1 second Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission data by removing stripes, filling voids and reflattening water bodies. Further details are provided in the DSM metadata (ANZCW0703013336).

1 second DEM processing (vegetation offset removal)

Vegetation offsets were identified using Landsat-based mapping of woody vegetation. The height offsets were estimated around the edges of vegetation patches then interpolated to a continuous surface of vegetation height offset that was subtracted from the DSM to produce a bare-earth DEM. Further details are provided in the 1 second DSM metadata (ANZCW0703013355).

Void filling

Voids (areas without data) occur in the data due to low radar reflectance (typically open water or dry sandy soils) or topographic shadowing in high relief areas. Delta Surface Fill Method (Grohman et al., 2006) was adapted for this task, using GEODATA 9 second DEM as infill data source. The 9 second data was refined to 1 second resolution using ANUDEM 5.2 without drainage enforcement. Delta Surface Fill Method calculates height differences between SRTM and infill data to create a "delta" surface with voids where the SRTM has no values, then interpolates across voids. The void is then replaced by infill DEM adjusted by the interpolated delta surface, resulting in an exact match of heights at the edges of each void. Two changes to the Delta Surface Fill Method were made: interpolation of the delta surface was achieved with natural neighbour interpolation (Sibson, 1981; implemented in ArcGIS 9.3) rather than inverse distance weighted interpolation; and a mean plane inside larger voids was not used.

Water bodies

Water bodies defined from the SRTM Water Body Data as part of the DSM processing were set to the same elevations as in the DSM.

Edit rules for land surrounding water bodies

SRTM edit rules set all land adjacent to water at least 1m above water level to ensure containment of water (Slater et al., 2006). Following vegetation removal, void filling and water flattening, the heights of all grid cells adjacent to water was set to at least 1 cm above the water surface. The smaller offset (1cm rather than 1m) could be used because the cleaned digital surface model is in floating point format rather than integer format of the original SRTM.

Some small islands within water bodies are represented as voids within the SRTM due to edit rules. These voids are filled as part of void filling process, and their elevations set to a minimum of 1 cm above surrounding water surface across the entire void fill.

Overview of quality assessment

The quality of vegetation offset removal was manually assessed on a 1/8 ×1/8 degree grid. Issues with the vegetation removal were identified and recorded in ancillary data layers. The assessment was based on visible artefacts rather than comparison with reference data so relies on the detection of artefacts by edges.

The issues identified were:

* vegetation offsets are still visible (not fully removed)

* vegetation offset overestimated

* linear vegetation offset not fully removed

* incomplete removal of built infrastructure and other minor issues

DEM Ancillary data layers

The vegetation removal and assessment process produced two ancillary data layers:

* A shapefile of 1/8 × 1/8 degree tiles indicating which tiles have been affected by vegetation removal and any issue noted with the vegetation offset removal

* A difference surface showing the vegetation offset that has been removed; this shows the effect of vegetation on heights as observed by the SRTM radar

instrument and is related to vegetation height, density and structure.

The water and void fill masks for the 1 second DSM were also applied to the DEM. Further information is provided in the User Guide (Geoscience Australia and CSIRO Land & Water, 2010).

Resampling to 3 seconds

The 1 second SRTM derived Digital Elevation Model (DEM) was resampled to 3 seconds of arc (90m) in ArcGIS software using aggregation tool. This tool determines a new cell value based on multiplying the cell resolution by a factor of the input (in this case three) and determines the mean value of input cells with the new extent of the cell (i.e. Mean value of the 3x3 input cells). The 3 second SRTM was converted to integer format for the national mosaic to make the file size more manageable. It does not affect the accuracy of the data at this resolution. Further information on the processing is provided in the User Guide (Geoscience Australia and CSIRO Land & Water, 2010).

Further information can be found at http://www.ga.gov.au/metadata-gateway/metadata/record/gcat_aac46307-fce9-449d-e044-00144fdd4fa6/SRTM-derived+3+Second+Digital+Elevation+Models+Version+1.0

Dataset Citation

Geoscience Australia (2010) Geoscience Australia, 3 second SRTM Digital Elevation Model (DEM) v01. Bioregional Assessment Source Dataset. Viewed 11 December 2018, http://data.bioregionalassessments.gov.au/dataset/12e0731d-96dd-49cc-aa21-ebfd65a3f67a.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Title Geoscience Australia, 3 second SRTM Digital Elevation Model (DEM) v01
Type Dataset
Language eng
Licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/, (c) Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia)
Data Status active
Update Frequency never
Landing Page https://data.gov.au/data/dataset/099e11e5-148a-42cd-94e4-71c46461d3c7
Date Published 2016-03-22
Date Updated 2022-04-13
Contact Point
Bioregional Assessment Program
Temporal Coverage 2016-03-22 00:00:00
Geospatial Coverage POLYGON ((154 -44, 154 -10, 113 -10, 113 -44, 154 -44))
Jurisdiction Australia
Data Portal data.gov.au
Publisher/Agency Bioregional Assessment Program