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ADHydro TIN Based Semi-Automated Mesh Creation

Robert Christian Steinke, Leticia Goncalves Pureza, Hernan A Moreno, and Fred L. Ogden .
Dept. of Civil and Architectural Engineering, University of Wyoming

http://ci-water.org/

3Rd Conference on
Hydroinformatics - 2015

Example Mesh Output

Abstract

EPSCoR
EPS 1135483

Hydrologic models are important for understanding water cycle dynamics and factors that affect the availability of
the water supply. Many such models use triangular irregular network (TIN) meshes to represent the modeled
domain. The CI-WATER project has developed a hydroinformatics workflow for generating TIN meshes by
synthesizing disparate publicly available data sources.
The workflow uses source data such as the National Elevation Dataset (NED) Digital Elevation Models (DEMs)
and the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) to specify the geometry of the TIN. In addition, other data sources
are incorporated to specify non-geometric parameters such as soil type (SSURGO & STASTSGO) and land-use
type (NLCD). Output from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model can be used to generate
atmospheric forcing data for hydrologic model runs. Processing is performed with common tools such as ArcGIS,
QGIS, TauDEM, and Triangle plus Python and R scripts written by the CI-WATER team. The workflow is
semi-automated with scripting, but still requires human direction.
This hydroinformatics workflow is being used to generate input data sets for CI-WATER's ADHydro model. So far
it has been used to generate meshes for sections of the Green river, the Yampa river, and the entire upper Colorado
watershed. We believe it is also useful as a standalone process separate from ADHydro for generating input data
sets for other models that use TIN meshes.

Semi-Automated Process

Most of the steps of the workflow use automated tools that are started from the command line
and require no user input or decision making. However, chaining together these steps into a
fully automated script has not been done yet. One issue we face in doing this is that for large
watersheds some of the steps have large memory requirements and must be done in batch mode
on a large memory cluster, while other steps, especially the ArcGIS vertex thinning, must be
done interactively.
There are three points in the process that do require user decision making. The first is selection
of the watershed outlet. The second is selection of the stream density threshold. The third is
ArcGIS vertex thinning described below.

Yampa River Watershed High resolution terrain map view. Triangle element elevation (in meters)
displayed in Paraview.
Number of elements: 688,255
Watershed area:
21,000 km 2
2
2
Largest element area: 276,800 m
Smallest element area: 2116 m
Longest element edge: 941 m
Shortest element edge: 39 m

For vertex thinning we use the ArcGIS topology editor. This process is interactive within the
ArcGIS ArcMap program. We have encountered problems when processing large watersheds.
It appears that large shapefiles are processed in blocks and inconsistencies appear at the edges
between blocks. An alternative automated vertex thinning process would be the most important
improvement to this workflow.

[1] Gesch, D.B., 2007, The National Elevation Dataset, in Maune, D., ed., Digital Elevation Model Technologies and
Applications: The DEM Users Manual, 2nd Edition: Bethesda, Maryland, American Society for Photogrammetry and
Remote Sensing, p. 99-118.
[2]Gesch, D., Oimoen, M., Greenlee, S., Nelson, C., Steuck, M., and Tyler, D., 2002, The National Elevation Dataset:
Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, v. 68, no. 1, p. 5-11.
[3]Homer, C.G., Dewitz, J.A., Yang, L., Jin, S., Danielson, P., Xian, G., Coulston, J., Herold, N.D., Wickham, J.D., and
Megown, K., 2015, Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, v. 81, no. 5, p. 345-354
[4]http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/. Accessed [6/5/2014].
[5]http://nhd.usgs.gov/index.html Accessed [6/5/2014]

Vertex Thinning

Download Data

TIN Creation Work Flow


SSURGO
STATSGO
NLCD

NHD
NED
DEM

Water bodies
delineation

Data Processing
- GDAL
- TauDEM
- QGIS
Watershed delineation and
stream network creation

References

Vertex thinning: reduction


ArcGIS
of detailed information.

Product:
- Watershed catchments shape file
- Stream network shape file
- Water bodies shape file

Triangle

Scripts

Mesh triangulation

Creation of files in
ADHydro input format