Creating HiRISE digital elevation models for Mars using the open-source Ames Stereo Pipeline

Adam J. Hepburn, Tom Holt, Bryn Hubbard, Felix Ng

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The present availability of sub-decametre digital elevation models on Mars – crucial for the study of surface processes – is scarce. In contrast to low-resolution global datasets, such models enable the study of landforms <10 km in size, which is the primary scale at which geomorphic processes have been active on Mars over the last 10–20 Myr . Stereogrammetry is a means of producing digital elevation models from stereo pairs of images. The HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured >3000 stereo pairs at 0.25 m pixel−1 resolution, enabling the creation of high-resolution digital elevation models (1–2 m pixel−1). Hitherto, only ∼500 of these pairs have been processed and made publicly available. Existing pipelines for the production of digital elevation models from stereo pairs, however, are built upon commercial software, rely upon sparsely available intermediate data, or are reliant on proprietary algorithms. In this paper, we present and test the output of a new pipeline for producing digital elevation models from HiRISE stereo pairs that is built entirely upon the open-source NASA Ames Stereo Pipeline photogrammetric software, making use of freely available data for cartographic rectification. This pipeline is designed for simple application by researchers interested in the use of high-resolution digital elevation models. Implemented here on a research computing cluster, this pipeline can also be used on consumer-grade UNIX computers. We produce and evaluate four digital elevation models using the pipeline presented here. Each are globally well registered, with accuracy similar to those of digital elevation models produced elsewhere
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-313
Number of pages21
JournalGeoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 09 Dec 2019


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