Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) provide an efficient means for analyzing and interpreting the topography of physical ecological systems. The one-kilometer DEM of Africa is used in this study to develop a hydrologically correct DEM. The sink database method distinguishes natural closed depressions from spurious or hydrologically insignificant depression or sinks. The method accomplishes three objectives: one, identification and processing of the DEM depressions, two, election and classification of the sinks that are natural closed basins and those that are deemed spurious, and three, the development of a hydrologically correct DEM. The resulting product for the continent of Africa generates 26,093 drainage basins including 35 closed basins. The drainage basins vary in area from 500 km2 in coastal region to 3.6 million km2 in the Congo-Zaire basin. The 35 remaining closed sink vary in size between 200 km2 to 1000 lmi2. This study demonstrates the merits of using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology along with digital elevation data to efficiently process and develop a hydrologically reliable elevation model with numerous derivative application benefit for natural resource management.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Digital mapping
Basins (Geology) -- Africa
Drainage -- Africa -- Data processing



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University