A Fuzzy K-means Classification of the natural landforms in Snowdonia, Wales

Katherine Arrell, P.F. Fisher, N.J. Tate, L. Bastin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing global coverage of high resolution/large-scale digital elevation data has allowed the study of geomorphological form to receive renewed attention by providing accessible datasets for the characterisation and quantification of land surfaces. Digital elevation models (DEMs) provide quantitative elevation data, but it is the characterisation and extraction of geomorphologically significant measures (morphometric indices) from these raw data that form more informative and useful datasets. Common to many geographical measures, morphometric measures derived from DEMs are dependent on the scale of observation. This paper reports results of employing a fuzzy c-means classification for a sample DEM from Snowdonia, Wales, with a number of morphometric measures at different resolutions as input, and morphometric classification of landforms at each resolution as output. The classifications reveal that different landscape components or morphometric classes are important at different resolutions, and that morphometric classes exhibit resolution dependency in their geographical extents. Examination of the scale dependency and behaviour of morphometric classifications of landforms at different resolutions provides a fuller and more holistic view of the classes present than a single-scale analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1366-1381
JournalComputers and Geosciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

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