Establishment of digital 3D map based on discrete elevation point data measured in the field

  • Aimin Li
  • Zhiwen HanEmail author
  • Caiyun Guo
  • Shuai Zhong


This study established a survey zone digital elevation model (DEM) using highly precise and regularly updated three-dimensional coordinates of the surface of barchan dunes using CASS9.0 software. Two contour plots were drawn, one for the entire survey zone drawn with a contour interval of 0.005 m and one for an individual sand dune drawn with a contour interval of 0.001 m. ArcMap10 was used to define the projection of the created contour lines in DWG format and export the data into shape files to enable the creation of a triangulated irregular network (TIN). Next, TIN data was converted into raster data to facilitate our analysis and data processing. We created the final TIN by using an additional smoothing processing on the desired area that had been clipped out. We added the TIN data to the ArcScene module to establish the final 3D numerical model of barchan dunes. This model extracts and analyzes the changes in the characteristic parameters of the barchan dune as its topography changes in real time so researchers can visualize dune migration and evolution. Their understanding is enhanced by comparing and superposing the various 3D dune models on different days.


Barchan dune DEM TIN 3D simulation 



The author wants to express his appreciation for Rui Wang and Meng-Chen Chen, who was admitted to the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2014. Both have participated in the surveying work of sand dune topography in the hinterlands of the Taklimakan Desert. This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41371025) and the National Science and Technology Support Program (2015BAC06B01-01).


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aimin Li
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Zhiwen Han
    • 1
    Email author
  • Caiyun Guo
    • 3
    • 4
  • Shuai Zhong
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and ResourcesChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  2. 2.College of Urban ConstructionHeze UniversityHezeChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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