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A novel 3D terrain matching method based on 3D Zernike moments is presented in this paper. In the method, 3D Zernike moments which are one-to-one correspondence with the 3D terrain are proposed to represent the reference DEM and recovered DEM (REM) from real-time data to convert 3D terrain matching to 3D Zernike moments feature vectors matching. The matching is divided into coarse and fine matching two steps. In the coarse matching, the matching window glides to 5 pixels as step size, lower order 3D Zernike moments are adopted as the 3D terrain feature. Fine matching is at coarse matching foundation to process, namely we only make fine matching to three superior coarse matching positions and their nearby regions, the matching window glides to 1 pixels as step size, higher order 3D Zernike moments are adopted as the 3D terrain feature. The similar degree of two pieces of terrain is measured by the Camberra distance of the 3D Zernike moments of them, the more small Camberra distance is, the more alike two pieces of terrain is, vice versa. The proposed matching method is based on surface feature, comparing with based on point feature and line feature, it possesses higher successful matching probability and higher location accuracy and stronger robust to noise. The theories and experiments prove above conclusions.