M. H.Wimmer ,  M. Hollaus ,  G. BlöschlA. Buttinger-Kreuzhuber ,  J. Komma ,  J. Waser ,  N. Pfeifer (2021)

Processing of nationwide topographic data for ensuring consistent river network representation

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Journal of Hydrology


Increasing river floods and infrastructure development in many parts of the world have created an urgent need for accurate high-resolution flood hazard mapping for more efficient flood risk management. Mapping accuracy hinges on the quality of the underlying Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and other spatial datasets. This article presents a processing strategy to ensure consistent adaption of countrywide spatial datasets to the requirements of hydraulic modelling. The suggested methods are automatized to a large extent and include (i) automatic fitting of river axis positions to the DTM, (ii) detection of culverts and obstacles in the river channel (iii) Smooth elimination of obstacles by interpolation along the river axes (iv) geometric detection of water-land borders and the top edge of embankments for (v) integration of the submerged river bed geometry into the DTM. The processing chain is applied to a river network (33880 km) and a DTM from Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) with 1 m spatial resolution covering the entire territory of Austria (∼84000 km2). Thus, countrywide consistency of data and methods is achieved along with high local relevance. Semi-automatic validation and extensive manual checks demonstrate that processing significantly improves the DTM with respect to topographic and hydraulic consistency. However, some open issues of automatic processing remain, e.g. in case of long underground river reaches.





DEM, Topographic data, Hydraulic modelling, Flood hazard mapping, High resolution