Geomorphometry is the science of quantitative land surface analysis. It gathers various mathematical, statistical and image processing techniques that can be used to quantify morphological, hydrological, ecological and other aspects of a land surface. Common synonyms for geomorphometry are geomorphological analysis, terrain morphometry or terrain analysis and land surface analysis. In simple terms, geomorphometry aims at extracting (land) surface parameters (morphometric, hydrological, climatic etc.) and objects (watersheds, stream networks, landforms etc.) using input digital land surface model (also known as digital elevation model) and parameterization software. Extracted surface parameters and objects can then be used, for example, to improve mapping and modelling of soils, vegetation, land use, geomorphological and geological features and similar.
Although geomorphometry started with ideas of Brisson (1808) and Gauss (1827), the field did not evolve much until the construction of the first DEM (Miller and Laflamme, 1958). With the rapid increase of sources of DEMs today (and especially due to the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and LIDAR-based projects), extraction of land surface parameters is becoming more and more attractive to numerous fields ranging from precision agriculture, soil-landscape modelling, climatic and hydrological applications to urban planning, education and space research. The topography of almost all Earth has been today sampled or scanned, so that DEMs are available at resolutions of 100 m or better at global scale. Land surface parameters are today successfully used for both stochastic and process-based modelling, the only remaining issue being the level of detail and vertical accuracy of the DEM.
- Miller, C.L. and Laflamme, R.A. (1958): The Digital Terrain Model-Theory & Application. MIT Photogrammetry Laboratory.
- Pike, R. J.. Geomorphometry –- progress, practice, and prospect. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie Supplementband 101 (1995): 221-238.
- Pike, R.J., Evans, I., Hengl, T., 2008. Geomorphometry: A Brief Guide. In: Geomorphometry - Concepts, Software, Applications, Hengl, T. and Hannes I. Reuter (eds.), Series Developments in Soil Science vol. 33, Elsevier, pp. 3-33, ISBN 978-0-12-374345-9
- Hengl, Tomislav; Reuter, Hannes I., eds. (2009). Geomorphometry: concepts, software, applications. Amsterdam: Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-12-374345-9.