Since the descriptors based on Three-Dimensional (3D) Zernike moments are robust to geometric transformations and noise, they have been proposed for terrain matching. However, terrain matching algorithms based on 3D Zernike Moments (3DZMs) are often difficult to implement in practice since they are computationally intensive. This paper presents a more efficient real-time terrain matching algorithm based on 3DZMs for land applications. Two efficient methods based on coordinate transformation and symmetry are proposed to compute the geometric moments. The impact of the sample difference on the matching result due to heading angle is investigated to prove the feasibility of using a circular template. Consequently, the terrain feature vectors of the reference map can be computed off-line with the circular template to significantly reduce on-line computation. Numerical experiments on a real digital elevation model demonstrate that the proposed algorithm is robust to the heading angle and can be implemented for real-time terrain matching operations.