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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 563038, 9 pages
Research Article

Spatial Characterization of Landscapes through Multifractal Analysis of DEM

1Departamento de Producción Vegetal, Botánica, E.T.S.I.A., UPM, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2Departamento de Producción Vegetal, Fitotecnia, E.T.S.I.A., UPM, 28040 Madrid, Spain
3CEIGRAM, E.T.S.I.A., UPM, 28040 Madrid, Spain
4Departamento de Matemática Aplicada, E.T.S.I.A., UPM, 28040 Madrid, Spain

Received 30 April 2014; Accepted 18 July 2014; Published 6 August 2014

Academic Editor: Antonio Paz González

Copyright © 2014 P. L. Aguado et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Landscape evolution is driven by abiotic, biotic, and anthropic factors. The interactions among these factors and their influence at different scales create a complex dynamic. Landscapes have been shown to exhibit numerous scaling laws, from Horton’s laws to more sophisticated scaling of heights in topography and river network topology. This scaling and multiscaling analysis has the potential to characterise the landscape in terms of the statistical signature of the measure selected. The study zone is a matrix obtained from a digital elevation model (DEM) (map 10 × 10 m, and height 1 m) that corresponds to homogeneous region with respect to soil characteristics and climatology known as “Monte El Pardo” although the water level of a reservoir and the topography play a main role on its organization and evolution. We have investigated whether the multifractal analysis of a DEM shows common features that can be used to reveal the underlying patterns and information associated with the landscape of the DEM mapping and studied the influence of the water level of the reservoir on the applied analysis. The results show that the use of the multifractal approach with mean absolute gradient data is a useful tool for analysing the topography represented by the DEM.