Delineating nested depression hierarchy in digital elevation models for hydrological analysis

This repository contains source code and figures for the following research article published in the JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association. The algorithm is designed for delineating nested depression hierarchy in digital elevation models (DEM) for hydrological analysis.

Wu, Q., Lane, C. R., Wang, L., Vanderhoof, M. K., Christensen, J. R., & Liu, H. (2019). Efficient Delineation of Nested Depression Hierarchy in Digital Elevation Models for Hydrological Analysis Using Level‐Set Method. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 55(2), 354-368. https://doi.org/10.1111/1752-1688.12689


FIGURE 1. Illustration of the level-set method for numerical analysis of shapes and surfaces.

FIGURE 2. Illustration of the level-set method for delineating nested depressions.

FIGURE 3. A depression-tree representation of the compound depression shown in Figure 2.

FIGURE 4. (a) Location map of the Pipestem watershed in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota. (b) Shaded relief map of LiDAR DEM with topobathy for the Cottonwood Lake Study Area in North Dakota; wetlands identified with the T and P prefix are typified by temporary and permanent flood regimes, respectively (e.g., Winter and Rosenberry (1998)).

FIGURE 5. Delineation of nested depressions in the Cottonwood Lake Study Area using the level-set method. (a) Image of individual depressions overlaid on DEM hillshade. (b) Image of depression hierarchy overlaid on DEM hillshade. (c) Black and white aerial photograph acquired on July 2, 1957. (d) Four-band (RGBN) aerial photograph acquired on July 31, 2012 (Source of aerial photographs: North Dakota GIS Hub Data Portal).