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Digital Elevation Models for the Global Change Research Wetland, Maryland, USA, 2016

This dataset contains four alternative digital elevation models (DEMs) at 1 m resolution and model performance statistical metrics for the Global Change Research Wetland (GCReW) site on the Rhode River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, USA, for the year 2016. Three DEMs were created by using different strategies for correcting positive biases in Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)-based DEMs that are common in tidal wetlands. These included (1) applying a single average offset based on a literature review, (2) using the LiDAR Elevation Correction with NDVI (LEAN)-method, and (3) applying plant community-specific offsets using a local vegetation cover map. Existing LiDAR data at 1 m resolution collected in 2011 was the basis for these DEMs. The fourth DEM was created by using Empirical Bayesian Kriging to extrapolate between measured ground points. The elevation is provided in meters relative to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88). To calibrate the four approaches, the elevation of the entire marsh complex was surveyed at 20 m x 20 m resolution to document the distribution of elevation relative to tidal datums from a single year. Two Trimble R8 real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS receivers were used to survey 525 points over the complex from July 26, 2016, to August 15, 2016. Relative plant cover was also documented. Tidal datums were calculated from the nearby Annapolis, MD tidal gauge located 13 km from GCReW.

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