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Visualising DEM-related flood-map uncertainties using a disparity-distance equation algorithm
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Land management, GIS. (Geospatial informationsvetenskap / Geospatial information science)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3884-3084
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Land management, GIS. (Geospatial informationsvetenskap / Geospatial information science)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3906-6088
2016 (English)In: IAHS-AISH Proceedings and Reports / [ed] A. H. Schumann, G. Blöschl, A. Castellarin, J. Dietrich, S. Grimaldi, U. Haberlandt, A. Montanari, D. Rosbjerg, A. Viglione, and S. Vorogushyn, Göttingen: Copernicus Publications on behalf of International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) , 2016, Vol. 373, p. 153-159Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The apparent absoluteness of information presented by crisp-delineated flood boundaries can lead tomisconceptions among planners about the inherent uncertainties associated in generated flood maps. Even mapsbased on hydraulic modelling using the highest-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs), and calibrated withthe most optimal Manning’s roughness (n) coefficients, are susceptible to errors when compared to actual floodboundaries, specifically in flat areas. Therefore, the inaccuracies in inundation extents, brought about by thecharacteristics of the slope perpendicular to the flow direction of the river, have to be accounted for. Instead ofusing the typical Monte Carlo simulation and probabilistic methods for uncertainty quantification, an empiricalbaseddisparity-distance equation that considers the effects of both the DEM resolution and slope was used tocreate prediction-uncertainty zones around the resulting inundation extents of a one-dimensional (1-D) hydraulicmodel. The equation was originally derived for the Eskilstuna River where flood maps, based on DEM dataof different resolutions, were evaluated for the slope-disparity relationship. To assess whether the equation isapplicable to another river with different characteristics, modelled inundation extents from the Testebo Riverwere utilised and tested with the equation. By using the cross-sectional locations, water surface elevations, andDEM, uncertainty zones around the original inundation boundary line can be produced for different confidences.The results show that (1) the proposed method is useful both for estimating and directly visualising modelinaccuracies caused by the combined effects of slope and DEM resolution, and (2) the DEM-related uncertaintiesalone do not account for the total inaccuracy of the derived flood map. Decision-makers can apply it to alreadyexisting flood maps, thereby recapitulating and re-analysing the inundation boundaries and the areas that areuncertain. Hence, more comprehensive flood information can be provided when determining locations whereextra precautions are needed. Yet, when applied, users must also be aware that there are other factors that caninfluence the extent of the delineated flood boundary.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göttingen: Copernicus Publications on behalf of International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) , 2016. Vol. 373, p. 153-159
Series
IAHS-AISH Proceedings and Reports, ISSN 0144-7815 ; 373
Keywords [en]
River floods, Hydraulic modelling, Inundation mapping, Digital elevation models (DEM), Uncertainty
National Category
Ocean and River Engineering Oceanography, Hydrology and Water Resources Physical Geography Remote Sensing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-21496DOI: 10.5194/piahs-373-153-2016ISI: 000391006000026Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85044511792OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-21496DiVA, id: diva2:928034
Conference
7th International Water Resources Management Conference of ICWRS, 18-20 May 2016, ochum, Germany
Available from: 2016-05-13 Created: 2016-05-13 Last updated: 2019-03-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Modelling, mapping and visualisation of flood inundation uncertainties
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Modelling, mapping and visualisation of flood inundation uncertainties
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Flood maps showing extents of predicted flooding for a given extreme event have wide usage in all types of spatial planning tasks, as well as serving as information material for the public. However, the production processes that these maps undergo (including the different data, methods, models and decisions from the persons generating them), which include both Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and hydraulic modelling, affect the map’s content, and will be reflected in the final map. A crisp flood boundary, which is a common way of representing the boundary in flood maps, may therefore not be the best representation to be used. They provide a false implication that these maps are correct and that the flood extents are absolute, despite the effects of the entire modelling in the prediction output. Hence, this research attempts to determine how flood prediction outputs can be affected by uncertainties in the modelling process. In addition, it tries to evaluate how users understand, utilise and perceive flood uncertainty information. 

Three main methods were employed in the entire research: uncertainty modelling and analyses; map and geovisualisation development; and user assessment. The studies in this work showed that flood extents produced were influenced by the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) resolution and the Manning’s  used. This effect was further increased by the topographic characteristic of the floodplain. However, the performance measure used, which quantify how well a model produces result in relation to a reference floor boundary, had also biases in quantifying outputs. Determining the optimal model output, therefore, depended on outcomes of the goodness-of-fit measures used.

 In this research, several ways were suggested on how uncertainties can be visualised based on the data derived from the uncertainty assessment and by characterising the uncertainty information. These can be through: dual-ended maps; flood probability maps; sequential maps either highlighting the degrees of certainty (certainty map) or degrees of uncertainty (uncertainty map) in the data; binary maps; overlain flood boundaries from different calibration results; and performance bars. Different mapping techniques and visual variables were used for their representation. These mapping techniques employed, as well as the design of graphical representation, helped facilitate understanding the information by the users, especially when tested during the evaluations. Note though that there were visualisations, which the user found easier to comprehend depending on the task given. Each of these visualisations had also its advantages and disadvantages in communicating flood uncertainty information, as shown in the assessments conducted. Another important aspect that came out in the study was how the users’ background influence decision-making when using these maps. Users’ willingness to take risks depended not only on the map, but their perceptions on the risk itself. However, overall, users found the uncertainty maps to be useful to be incorporated in planning tasks.

Abstract [sv]

Översvämningskartor som visar utbredningen av förutspådda översvämningar för vissa extrema händelser har stor användning i all typ av samhällsplanering, samt fungerar som informationsmaterial för allmänheten. Men, de produktionsprocesser som dessa kartor genomgår (inkluderande olika data, metoder, modeller och beslut från de personer som genererar dessa) och som innefattar både geografiska informationssystem (GIS) och hydraulisk modellering, påverkar kartornas innehåll, vilket även återspeglas i de slutliga kartornas utseende. En skarp översvämningsgräns, som är det vanliga sättet att visa gränsen i översvämningskartor, är därför antagligen inte det bästa sättet att representera utbredningen. Sådana gränser ger en falsk trygghet i att dessa kartor är korrekta och att översvämningsutbredningen är absolut, trots att hela processen att producera dem innebär osäkerheter. Denna studie försöker därför undersöka hur översvämningskartering påverkas av osäkerheter i modelleringsprocesser och hur dessa osäkerheter kan representeras, visualiseras och kommuniceras i kartorna. Dessutom försöker studien utvärdera hur olika användare förstår, använder och uppfattar översvämningskartor som innehåller osäkerhetsinformation.

Tre huvudmetoder har använts i denna studie: osäkerhetsmodellering och analys, kart- och geovisualiseringsutveckling samt användarstudier. Resultaten visar att översvämningsgränserna påverkades både av de digitala höjdmodellernas upplösning (cellstorlek) och markens friktion, representerat av Mannings 𝑛, men också av markens topografi. För att kvantifiera skillnaderna mellan modell och referensöversvämningsyta och därefter kunna välja den mest optimala modellen användes olika valideringsmetoder. Dessa lider dock också av olika brister, vilket gör att resultaten varierar beroende på den valideringsmetod som används.

I denna studie föreslås flera sätt att visualisera osäkerheter baserat på resultaten från osäkerhetsmodellering och karaktären av osäkerhetsinformation. Dessa utgörs av kartor med divergerande färgramp (sk. dual-ended colour maps), sekventiella kartor (som framhäver graden av säkerhet, respektive osäkerhet), binära kartor, överlagring av översvämningsgränser från olika modeller samt värdestaplar. Olika karteringsmetoder och visuella variabler användes för att representera informationen. Resultat från en användarstudie visade att dessa, samt utformningen av den grafiska representationen, underlättade förståelsen av informationen. Beroende på uppgiften finns det visualisering som är lättare eller svårare att förstå för kartanvändarna. Varje visualisering hade också för- och nackdelar med att kommunicera översvämningsosäkerhetsinformation. En annan viktig aspekt som kom fram i studien var hur användarnas bakgrund påverkar beslutsfattandet när de använde de olika kartorna. Användarnas vilja att ta risker berodde inte bara på kartan, utan också på deras uppfattning av risken i sig. Sammantaget visade det sig emellertid att osäkerhetskartorna är användbara för planeringsuppgifter.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gävle: Gävle University Press, 2018. p. 109
Series
Studies in the Research Profile Built Environment. Doctoral thesis ; 10
Keywords
cartography, flood, hydraulic modelling, GIS, map, uncertainty, visualisation, GIS, hydraulisk modellering, karta, kartografi, osäkerhet, visualisering, översvämning
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-27995 (URN)978-91-88145-33-8 (ISBN)978-91-88145-34-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-12-10, Lilla Jadwigasalen (12:108), Kungsbäcksvägen 47, Gävle, 15:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-11-13 Created: 2018-10-10 Last updated: 2018-11-13

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Brandt, S. AndersLim, Nancy J.

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