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NOAA NCEI CUDEM Program – Continuously-Updated Digital Elevation Models - Development and Research

Authors: Matthew Stiller*, NOAA - Boulder
Topics: Remote Sensing
Keywords: Open Source, Digital Elevation Model
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) develops digital elevation models (DEMs) to support the modeling of tsunami and storm surge inundation. NCEI scientists develop DEMs by seamlessly integrating bathymetric and topographic data sets of disparate age and quality from numerous federal, state, and local government agencies, universities, and private companies.

NCEI has developed a methodology for the development of high-resolution DEMs using Free Open-Source Software (FOSS) tools, including custom scripts and programs. FOSS development of DEMs allows for communities and individuals to participate in their own development of DEMs at minimal cost with a tested and reliable methodology for the development of accurate, integrated bathymetric-topographic coastal DEMs.

Accurate, integrated bathymetric-topographic DEMs are needed because the shape and depth of the ocean floor affects the speed and height of waves, and the coastal land topography primarily determines the inland extent of inundation.

NCEI DEMs are integral to determining the timing and extent of coastal inundation and improving community preparedness, event forecasting and warning systems. DEMs can also be used for the modeling of sea-level rise inundation and contaminant dispersal, as well as for ecosystems management and habitat research, and coastal and marine spatial planning.

Current developments and ongoing research at NCEI include the Continually Updated Digital Elevation Model (CUDEM) framework, research in the development of companion uncertainty grids and DEM development methodology using Free Open Source Software (FOSS).

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