Although multiple efforts have been made to model global navigation satellite system (GNSS)-reflectometry (GNSS-R) delay-Doppler maps (DDMs) over land, there is still a need for models that better represent the signals over land and can enable reliable retrievals of the geophysical variables. Our paper presents improvements to an existing GNSS-R DDM model by accounting for short-wave diffraction due to small-scale ground surface roughness and signal attenuation due to vegetation. This is a step forward in increasing the model fidelity. Our model, called the improved geometric optics with topography (IGOT), predicts GNSS-R DDM over land for the purpose of retrieving geophysical parameters, including soil moisture. Validation of the model is carried out using DDMs from the Cyclone GNSS (CYGNSS) mission over two validation sites with in situ soil moisture sensors: Walnut Gulch, AZ, USA, and the Jornada Experimental Range, NM, USA. Both the peak reflectivity and the DDM shape are studied. The results of the study show that the IGOT model is able to accurately predict CYGNSS DDMs at these two validation sites.