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The paper presents a method for terrain surface reconstruction from altimetric data. The approach is based on terrain modeling using a parametric surface. On the assumption that above-ground objects are outliers, M-estimators supply a theoretical framework to obtain a robust estimation of the ground surface parameters from a digital elevation model. Instead of the usual M-estimator functions, an asymmetrical weight function is introduced to improve the optimization process. We present results obtained with simulated and real data.