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Japan - Gravel Bed Rivers 8 - Post Conference Short Course

Short Course: Introduction to Geomorphic Change Detection

In an era of abundant high-resolution topographic survey data and acquisition methods (RTK-GPS, LiDAR and Structure-from-Motion), it is becoming increasingly important to understand and master new workflows for assessing the quality of digital elevation models (DEMs), the extents of 2D and 3D change, and the variance and error in DEMs of difference.

The freely available GCD software suite was developed to streamline the process of evaluating topographic change within a time series of survey data, which is applicable in a range of environments. As each DEM has an uncertain surface representation (which might vary in space and time), our ability to detect changes between surveys is highly dependent on surface representation uncertainties inherent in the individual DEMs. The fundamental problem is differentiating the changes between the surveys that are due to geomorphic change from the changes due to noise in the DEMs. GCD provides a suite of tools for quantifying those uncertainties independently in each DEM and propagating them through to the DEM of difference. The program also provides ways for segregating the best estimates of change spatially using different types of masks. The overall suite of tools is more generically applicable to many different spatial raster-based change detection problems. 

This ½ day short course will introduce participants to the principles of change detection, and how to apply those principles using the GCD Software. This ½ day short course will be offered as part of the Gravel Bed Rivers post conference activities.

Instruction Team: 
Joe Wheaton, Utah State University; Damia Vericat, University of Lleida; Richard Williams, Aberystwyth University 

Registration is free and open only to PhD students and postdocs attending the GBR8 Workshop. To register, email

IMPORTANT - Instructions to Participants

Participants are required to bring their own laptop. In short, you need ArcGIS 10.X installed, the GCD Add-IN, *See Prerequisites for preparing your laptop. BEFORE SATURDAY, make sure you have:
  1. Your laptop ready with ArcGIS installed (see prerequisites) and GCD 6.1.9 installed
  2. Have downloaded the Short Course Exercises (below) to your laptop and unzipped them to a folder called: c:\0_GCD (with no spaces) for easy access during workshop.
We only have 3 hours, so it is mandatory you show up with the above ready as we will not have time to configure your machine the morning of the short course. If you need help configuring things or getting an ArcGIS 10.X license for the short course, please track me (Joe Wheaton) down during the GBR worskshop or email me at 

Course Materials