Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 752–764 | Cite as

A terrain openness index for the extraction of karst Fenglin and Fengcong landform units from DEMs

  • Xin Meng
  • Li-yang Xiong
  • Xian-wu Yang
  • Bi-sheng Yang
  • Guo-an Tang


The Fenglin and Fengcong landform units are considered to be an important representation for defining the degree of development of Karst landforms. However, these terrain features have been proven difficult to delineate and extract automatically because of their complex morphology. In this paper, a new method for identifying the Fenglin and Fengcong landform units is proposed. This method consists of two steps: (1) terrain openness calculation and (2) toe line extraction. The proposed method is applied and validated in the Karst case area of Guilin by using ASTER GDEM with one arc-second resolution. The openness of both the positive and negative terrain and a threshold were used to extract toe lines for segmenting depressions and pinnacles in Fenglin and Fengcong landforms. A comparison between the extracted Fenglin and Fengcong landform units and their real units from high resolution images was carried out to evaluate the capability of the proposed method. Results show the proposed method can effectively extract the Fenglin and Fengcong landform units, and has an overall accuracy of 93.28%. The proposed method is simple and easy to implement and is expected to play an important role in the automatic extraction of similar landform units in the Karst area.


DEM Karst landform Fenglin and Fengcong landform Terrain openness Landform units 


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The research is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NO. 41601411, 41671389, 41571398, 41701449); Open Fund of State Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing, Wuhan University (Grant No. 17S02); A Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions-PAPD (Grant No. 164320H101). The authors express their gratitude the journal editor and the reviewers, whose thoughtful suggestions played a significant role in improving the quality of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key laboratory of Virtual Geographic Environment, Ministry of EducationNanjing Normal UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory Cultivation Base of Geographical Environment Evolution (Jiangsu Province)NanjingChina
  3. 3.Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and ApplicationNanjingChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote SensingWuhan UniversityWuhanChina

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