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Morphometric indices are powerful tools for investigating effects of active tectonics and climate change on mountainous landscapes. The tutorials provided here are aimed at the graduate student in the Geosciences whose research involves DEMs, mountainous landscapes and watersheds. Lessons included here complement topics covered in Burbank and Anderson, 2012, Tectonic Geomorphology (2nd Edition), ISBN-13: 978-1444338874. Another good text is Pelletier, 2008, Quantitative Modeling of Earth Surface Processes, ISBN-13: 978-0521855976. Paul Bolstad’s book is a well-written, well-priced Introduction to GIS (4th Edition), ISBN: 978-0-9717647-3-6. I have no connection to the authors.
Keeping It Simple
I’ve chosen to keep things simple in order to reach a wider audience. Nearly all lessons utilize standard 10m or 30m DEMs, but many of the methods will translate to LiDAR elevation data. Instructions are for ArcGIS 10.x, the Spatial Analyst extension, and the 3D Analyst extension. In places, Program R code is included. References to relevant journal articles are included with each lesson.
A list of reference material usually accompanies each lesson. Lesson authors have tried to provide you links to pertinent journal articles, books, websites, and online videos that discuss the central concept of the index, explain equations & calculations, or present an alternative methods. We have tried to be comprehensive and transparent, but sometimes miss things. Please let us know if we have overlooked a key article.
Advanced GIS Users
The advanced GIS user/programmer will certainly devise more efficient ways to accomplish everything I show here. I highly encourage Geoscience students to take all the programming they can. Good skills quicken the pace of discovery and can offer something to fall back on in a lousy job market. Python, GME, R, MatLab, or even CSS can open up vast new worlds to those inclined to learn a new language. Programming skills are valuable and the software readily available to students. When the opportunity arises to learn a little code, seize it.
This website is under constant revision. New lessons are added and old ones are updated on a semi-regular basis.
Finding ArcToolbox Tools Quickly
ArcMap > Windows tab > Search > click the Tools link. Type in name of tool. Copy often-used tools to your own Favorites folder inside ArcToolbox.
Projecting DEMs Correctly
Use the BILINEAR method when projecting DEM data (ArcUser Fall, 2013).
All photographs that run in the header are my own, collected during trips and climbs.