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Journal of Applied Geodesy

Editor-in-Chief: Kahmen, Heribert / Rizos, Chris

CiteScore 2018: 1.61

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.532
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Assessment of ArcGIS based extraction of geoidal undulation compared to National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) model – A case study

Sher Muhammad
  • Corresponding author
  • Institute of International Rivers and Eco-security, Yunnan University, 650500 Kunming, China
  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal
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  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Lide Tian
  • Institute of International Rivers and Eco-security, Yunnan University, 650500 Kunming, China
  • CAS Center of Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, 100101 Beijing, China
  • Yunnan Key Laboratory of International Rivers and Transboundary Eco–security, 650091 Kunming, China
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2019-10-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jag-2019-0030


Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and remote sensing Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) represent earth’s surface elevation with reference to ellipsoid and orthometric heights. Proper estimation of the geoid (difference of ellipsoid and orthometric heights) is necessary before comparing data referenced to the different vertical datum. In this paper, an error in estimating EGM96 orthometric height is highlighted, verified by NGA/NASA developed model and MATLAB®. A significant error was found in the ArcGIS derived EGM96 orthometric heights range between ±6.9 meters. In addition, interpolation of low-resolution geoid data also produces significant biases depending on geographic location and the number of the interpolation data point. The bias was maximum negative in the central part of Tibetan Plateau and Himalaya. Therefore, estimation of orthometric height similar to NGA/NASA model precision is necessary for comparison of DEMs for natural resources management, 3D modelling and glaciers mass balance mainly in the mountainous regions.

Keywords: EGM96; geoid; DEM; ArcGIS


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About the article

Received: 2019-06-26

Accepted: 2019-10-10

Published Online: 2019-10-31

This work is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant No. 41530748, No.  41671072).

Author contributions: S. M. designed the study. S. M. carried out all the analysis and wrote the manuscript to which L. T. contributed.

Conflict of interest: Both the authors declare no competing financial and non-financial interests.

Citation Information: Journal of Applied Geodesy, ISSN (Online) 1862-9024, ISSN (Print) 1862-9016, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jag-2019-0030.

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