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Rugosidad del terreno: una característica del paisaje poco estudiada


Author Info

  • Goerlich Gisbert Francisco J.

    (Ivie; Universidad de Valencia)

  • Cantarino Martí Isidro

    (Universidad Politécnica de Valencia)


This working paper quantifies, at a regional level (NUTS3), terrain ruggedness, and compares it with the average altitude of the region. Altitude is an often-used variable introduced in gravitational models of population or activity location as a measure of physical geography, to pick up a general idea of difficult terrain. Using geographical information systems and the high resolution digital elevation model: Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), developed by NASA, we construct a terrain ruggedness index that quantifies topographic heterogeneity, and is based on the slope with respect to neighborhood cells. From the digital model of ruggedness we build up zonal statistics at a NUTS3 regional scale. We show that ruggedness and altitude are almost completely unrelated at this level of geographical aggregation (NUTS3) and both variables have a very different spatial distribution. Hence, ruggedness has informative content beyond altitude, and our index is a natural variable to be considered as a covariate in location models. The main conclusion is that the ruggedness index provides a summary of a useful geographical feature of the landscape, in the same way as altitude or proximity to the coast.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation in its series Working Papers with number 201010.

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Length: 31
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fbb:wpaper:201010

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Keywords: Digital elevation model; ruggedness index; altitude; SRTM.;

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Cited by:
  1. Jordi Jofre-Monseny (Universitat de Barcelona & Institut dEconomia de Barcelona (IEB)), 2013. "The effects of unemployment benefits on migration in lagging regions," Working Papers in Economics 292, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  2. Jordi Jofre-Monseny, 2013. "The effects of unemployment benefits on migration in lagging regions," Working Papers 2013/10, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).


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