The new Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM v2) has been available since 17 October 2011. With a resolution of approximately 30 m, this model should provide more accurate information than the latest version of Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM v4) with a resolution of 90 m outside of the USA. The accuracies of these two recently released digital elevation models (DEMs) were assessed over the Altiplano watershed in South America using ICESat/GLAS data (Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite/Geoscience Laser Altimeter System). On the global scale, GDEM v2 is more accurate than SRTM v4, which presents a negative bias of approximately 8.8 m. Strong correlations between the DEMs’ accuracies and mean slope values occurred. Regarding land cover, SRTM v4 could be more accurate or easier to correct on a smaller scale than GDEM v2. Finally, a merged and corrected DEM that considers all of these observations was built to provide more accurate information for this region. The new model featured lower absolute mean errors, standard deviations, and root mean square errors relative to SRTM v4 or GDEM v2.
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