> Unfortunately DEM data is *way* too noisy and has too much potential for 
> odd artifacts to use directly.  What I have done is to take a coarse 

Hmm...  About what resolution are we talking here?

What additional data do you have available for the runways?  I guess you
have it's position (two endpoints?  center point, direction, length?)
and ``elevation''?  Commonly, the runway elevation at both thresholds
is given in the approach plates, is this data available?

How about the following KISS solution:  Do a first- or second-order
approximation of the elevation of the centerline (least squares).
Define the runway using its width, this centerline and no sideways

Gerhard Wesp             o o           Tel.: +41 (0) 43 5347636
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