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Watershed Delineation in the Field: A New Approach for Mobile Applications Using LiDAR Elevation Data

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  131620655,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: @2013
Authors:   Samuel A Noel, Aaron Ault, Dennis Buckmaster, Bernard Engel, Jane Frankenberger, Indrajeet Chaubey, James Krogmeier, Dennis C. Flanagan
Keywords:   watershed delineation Digital Elevation Model (DEM) hydrologic connectivity microtopography depression filling mobile application

Abstract. As mobile devices improve, the possibility of bringing watershed management tasks typically performed in the office to the field can be realized. High-resolution digital elevation models that capture microtopographic features such as natural depressions, road embankments, and ditches further enable field-scale analyses to take place. A sequential depression-filling algorithm (SDFA) designed to operate in mobile, resource-constrained environments has been developed to allow users to perform watershed delineations in the field. Depressions are filled based on their retention capacity and accumulation rate, and as they are filled, surface hydrologic connectivity increases. While complete hydrologic connectivity is assumed by many algorithms, natural depressions in specific terrains are filled only in extreme rainfall events by SDFAs. Additionally, users in the field may identify man-made structures such as culverts and tile risers that affect localized drainage, and means to integrate such features in the SDFA have been developed. Visualizations of hydrologically connected subcatchment polygons are presented and have been used in the field via the publicly available Android application.

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