Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2017, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (11): 1413-1427.doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1443-z

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Automatic mapping of lunar landforms using DEM-derived geomorphometric parameters

Jiao WANG1,2(), Weiming CHENG2,*(), Chenghu ZHOU2, Xinqi ZHENG1   

  1. 1. School of Information Engineering, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2017-06-13 Accepted:2017-07-31 Online:2017-11-10 Published:2017-09-07
  • Contact: Weiming CHENG;
  • About author:

    Author: Wang Jiao (1990-), PhD, specialized in planetary geomorphology and spatial analysis. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571388;National Special Basic Research Fund, No.2015FY210500


Developing approaches to automate the analysis of the massive amounts of data sent back from the Moon will generate significant benefits for the field of lunar geomorphology. In this paper, we outline an automated method for mapping lunar landforms that is based on digital terrain analysis. An iterative self-organizing (ISO) cluster unsupervised classification enables the automatic mapping of landforms via a series of input raster bands that utilize six geomorphometric parameters. These parameters divide landforms into a number of spatially extended, topographically homogeneous segments that exhibit similar terrain attributes and neighborhood properties. To illustrate the applicability of our approach, we apply it to three representative test sites on the Moon, automatically presenting our results as a thematic landform map. We also quantitatively evaluated this approach using a series of confusion matrices, achieving overall accuracies as high as 83.34% and Kappa coefficients (K) as high as 0.77. An immediate version of our algorithm can also be applied for automatically mapping large-scale lunar landforms and for the quantitative comparison of lunar surface morphologies.

Key words: automatic classification, geomorphometric parameters, ISO cluster, lunar landforms, DEM