Accuracy comparison on culvert-modified digital elevation models of DSMA and BA methods using ALS point clouds

Nadeem Fareed, Chi Kuei Wang

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5 Citations (Scopus)


High-resolution digital elevation models (HR-DEMs) originating from airborne laser scanning (ALS) point clouds must be transformed into Culvert-modified DEMs for hydrological and geomorphological analysis. To produce a culvert-modified DEM, information on the locations of drainage structures (DSs) (e.g., bridges and culverts) is essential. Nevertheless, DS mapping techniques, whether in connection with the development of new methods or an application setting of existing methods, have always been complicated. Consequently, wide area DS data are rare, making it challenging to produce a culvert-modified DEM in a wide area capacity. Alternatively, the breach algorithm (BA) method is a standard procedure to obtain culvert-modified DEMs in the absence of DS data, solving the problem to some extent. This paper addresses this shortcoming using a newly developed drainage structure mapping algorithm (DSMA) for obtaining a culvert-modified DEM for an area of 36 km2 in Vermont, USA. Benchmark DS data are used as a standard reference to assess the performance of the DSMA method compared to the BA method. A consistent methodological framework is formulated to obtain a culvert-modified DEM using DS data, mapped using the DSMA and resultant culvert-modified DEM is then compared with BA method respectively. The DSs found from the culvert-modified DEMs were reported as true positive (TP), false positive (FP), and false negative (FN). Based on TP, FP, and FN originating from the culvert-modified DEMs of both methods, the evaluation metrics of the false positive rate (FPR) (i.e., the commission error) and false negative rate (FNR) (i.e., the omission error) were computed. Our evaluation showed that the newly developed DSMA-based DS data resulted in an FPR of 0.05 with federal highway authorities (FHWA) roads and 0.12 with non-FHWA roads. The FNR with FHWA roads was 0.07, and with non-FHWA roads, it was 0.38. The BA method showed an FPR of 0.28 with FHWA roads and 0.62 with non-FHWA roads. Similarly, the FNR for the BA method was 0.32 with FHWA roads and 0.61 with non-FHWA roads. The statistics based on the FPR and FNR showed that the DSMA-based culvert-modified DEM was more accurate compared with the BA method, and the formulated framework for producing culvert-modified DEMs using DSMA-based DS data was robust.

Original languageEnglish
Article number254
JournalISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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