Tag Archives: gis

Computing Nationwide Flood Maps

A few months ago I made the following video and uploaded it to youtube (HD version available on youtube):

From the youtube description:

This video shows what parts of Denmark will flood if the ocean rises. The flood maps were computed using the TerraSTREAM software package and the finished flood maps were visualized by importing the resulting rasters into the GRASS open source GIS.

The algorithm used by TerraSTREAM takes dikes and natural features into account and works directly on the original input terrain. The terrain has been down-sampled afterwards for visualization purposes, the few seemingly disconnected flat areas are due to the fact that the computed output has been down-sampled for this video.

The size input grid dem used in this computation was around 100 gigabytes. The video was used in recent article(in Danish) which was about TerraSTREAM’s ability to compute flooding maps like the one shown in the video, on even very big terrains. This type of flood map can be used in an initial screening phase for computing flood risks.
In my opinion TerraSTREAM is a good example of I/O-efficient (external memory) algorithms put to use in efficiently solving real world problems on massive datasets.


Update: A similar, interactive, example be seen at our global flood map site.