This new one-second Digital Elevation Model (DEM) image the junction of the Barcoo and Thomson Rivers, south-western Queensland provides nearly ten times finer resolution and much greater detail than previous models.

One-second SRTM digital elevation model image of the junction of the Barcoo and Thomson Rivers, south-western Queensland.

One-second SRTM digital elevation model

The One-second SRTM Digital Elevation Model project is part of the Water Information Research and Development Alliance between CSIRO's Water for a Healthy Country Flagship and the Bureau of Meteorology.

  • 24 April 2009 | Updated 7 January 2013

Project summary

Water scarcity is a major challenge facing Australia. The need to accurately monitor, assess and forecast the availability, condition and use of water resources is now more vital than ever.

A key component of the Water Information Research and Development Alliance is developing several Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) of Australia based on Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) data.

Elevation datasets of the highest resolution and consistency across the continent are integral to meeting the Bureau of Meteorology objectives for water management. In the past this was only possible at nine second (250 m) resolution in Australia until the SRTM data became available.

As a result of the new data source, consisting of very dense but noisy data, new techniques have been developed for deriving the best possible hydrologically-sound DEM.

Objective

The Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric will provide a set of consistent framework data sets upon which water balances, water accounts and water resource assessments can be delivered and compared.

During 2012-13, the hydrologically enforced DEM-H will be incorporated progressively into the Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric that is fundamental in assisting the Bureau of Meteorology to:

  • define catchment boundaries
  • determine contributing areas
  • support modelling in floodplains, including inundation volume and surface water/ground water interactions.

Key research deliverables

From late 2008 to 2011, the One-second SRTM DEM project delivered a series of related elevation models, derived from the SRTM data that include:

New techniques are being developed for deriving the best possible hydrologically-sound DEM.

  • DEM, a bare-earth digital elevation model
  • DEM-S, a smoothed bare-earth digital elevation model
  • DEM-H, a hydrologically enforced digital elevation model.

Each model covers the Australian continent and near-shore islands at a resolution of one second (about 30 m).

These elevation models are available at Geoscience Australia's Digital Elevation Data [external link].

Partners

The research alliance brings together Water for a Healthy Country’s leading expertise in water and information sciences with the Bureau of Meteorology’s operational role in hydrologic analysis and prediction.

Other partners to the One-second SRTM Digital Elevation Model project include:

Find out more about Water Information Research and Development Alliance.