The Ontario Geological Survey and Canada Centre for Remote Sensing have developed methods for engineering geology terrain analysis using digital elevation models (DEMs) and remotely sensed imagery for remote areas within the boreal forest region of the Canadian Shield. Traditional methods of terrain analysis would be expensive because of the limited access and the vast area involved. Four main components of the terrain are considered: material, landform, relief, and regional drainage conditions. Landform (roughness) and relief are derived automatically from an analysis of a detailed hydrological-conditioned DEM. Regional drainage conditions are estimated from RADARSAT imagery with a mask based on the use of aspect and slope to limit the effects of topography on backscatter. Various types of analysis of LANDSAT imagery are then combined with all the above digital data layers to interpret material type. An automated method that first determines the relationships of the various layers of digital information in areas of known terrain conditions and then predicts terrain conditions in adjacent unmapped areas, is discussed.

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