[Proj] Dataset mismatch?

Michael P Finn mfinn at usgs.gov
Fri Jan 27 12:52:09 EST 2006

>From my colleague Lynn Usery (USGS/ Geospatial Information Office).   Mike 

Using 2 points is not sufficient. The user should use a grid of at least 
20 x 20 points (400 total points) over the quad. Transform those between 
the datums and resample the pixels based on this approach. This is a 
simple operation in Imagine which automatically locates the control 
points then applies the datum tranformation, interpolates and resamples 
the data. Of course Jarrett said no commercial software, so he must find 
a way to implement this process with open source code.

To perform the datum transformation, two points is just not enough to 
handle the differences between the two datums. NGS used thousands of 
points in the transformation to determine the NADCON shifts between NAD 
27 and NAD 83 for the US.


"Jarrett L. Redd" <jarrett_l_redd at yahoo.com> 
Sent by: proj-bounces at lists.maptools.org
01/27/2006 02:59 AM
Please respond to
"PROJ.4 and general Projections Discussions"    <proj at lists.maptools.org>

gdal-dev at lists.maptools.org, proj at lists.maptools.org, 
geotiff at lists.maptools.org

[Proj] Dataset mismatch?


Please forgive the long cross-posting.  I'm new to this and don't know 
who will have a possible answer for this issue of mine.

I'm a volunteer working on a avalanche terrain and runout mapping project 
potential use by our mountain search and rescue teams.  I'm using DRG 24k
topographical geotiff slices in UTM NAD27 and then processing 1/3 arc-sec
elevation .adf files in lat/lon NAD83 to match up and plot slopes and 
All this is downloaded from the NED seamless website.

Problem is, the two data sets don't match up precisely.  That is, the 
on the topo seem to match up precisely with elevation data in some places 
not so precisely in others.  At the worst, the error is around 500 feet. 
using "libproj" to convert coordinates between the two datums.  I'm 
processing a section of Colorado, and I'm building "libproj" to include 
"conus" correction file.  I've also verified my coordinate conversions are
correct by comparing against openEV and topoUSA.  I'm also using "libgdal" 
pull out the elevation data and "libgeotiff" to grab the image raster data 
geo tags.

However, like I said, I'm new to this.  I'm converting the NW and SE 
corners of
the geotiff into NAD83 and then interpolating for each pixel to match up 
the elevation data using the origin and resolution of the various 
pieces.  I have a sneaky feeling that life isn't that simple.  Am I 
some fancy projection to correct for curvature of the earth or something? 
is this just an inherent mismatch between the data sets?  Or both?  Other
suggestions to try?

Please don't suggest using a commercially available mapping package since 
have no money and I need to do very extensive data processing once I have 
data sets matching up properly.



P.S.  Here's an example of a nearly 500 foot mismatch error:

A tiny rock spire on the topo map:
13 0394704 4334970

And the corresponding spike in elevation data:
13 0394571 4335039

[Coords provided by OpenEV cursor]

I don't expect a perfect matchup, but the worst areas need to be corrected
somehow to make the avalanche terrain maps useful.

I can email an example image showing the error if someone is really 

Thanks again.

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