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High Resolution Topography in the Geosciences: methods and applications (co-organized)
Convener: Anette Eltner  | Co-Conveners: Damià Vericat , Andreas Kaiser , Mark Smith , Fabian Neugirg , James Brasington , Carlos Castillo , John Quinton , Mike James 
 / Mon, 13 Apr, 08:30–12:00
 / Attendance Mon, 13 Apr, 17:30–19:00

Topographic data are widely used across the geosciences. Topography is fundamental to landscape characterization, to support numerical modelling and to monitor topographic changes. Emerging technologies are providing a new set of opportunities (e.g. rapid data acquisition) and challenges (e.g. post-processing large data sets). Over the last decade laser-based instruments dominated the area of research, while recent advances in digital photogrammetry and computer vision, particularly in ‘structure from motion’ (SfM) algorithms, offer a new paradigm to geoscientists. Generation of point clouds from 2D-image information has seen a rapid increase in topographic modelling.

These new techniques have the advantage of being a non-contact survey method, either ground-based (e.g. handheld cameras or Terrestrial Laser Scanning) or with aerial platforms (e.g. UAVs), avoiding unnecessary disturbance to extremely deformable surfaces. High resolution topographic data can be obtained and digital elevation models (DEMs) can be created in a fast and flexible manner, covering multiple scales: from millimeters to kilometers. These capabilities are enabling new insights in diverse fields such as soil erosion, micro-topography reconstruction, volcanology, glaciology, landslide monitoring, and coastal and fluvial geomorphology. Broad data integration from multiple sensors is offering further exciting opportunities.

This session will evaluate the capability of new techniques to model topography and study patterns of topographic changes at multiple temporal and spatial scales. We invite contributions covering all aspects of high resolution topographic reconstruction in the geosciences. Contributions that transfer traditional expertise or demonstrate a significant advance enabled by novel datasets are particularly welcome. We encourage contributions describing workflows that optimize data acquisition and post-processing to guarantee acceptable accuracies, and field-based experimental studies using novel multi-instrument and multi-scale methodologies. A major goal is the exchange of experiences with modern technologies as well as data processing tools to highlight their potentials, limitations and challenges in different environments.

Confirmed invited speaker: Professor Jim Chandler (Loughborough University, UK) - Is SfM photogrammetry really the tool we've waited 30 years for?