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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Geographic Information Systems and Distributed Watershed Models Part I: Data Coverages and Sources

Authors
item Garbrecht, Jurgen
item Ogden, Fred - UNIV. OF CONNECTICUT
item Debarry, Paul - BORTON-LAWSON ENGINEERING
item Maidment, David - UNIV. OF TEXAS

Submitted to: Journal Hydrologic Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2001
Publication Date: November 1, 2001

Interpretive Summary: This is the first paper of a two-part paper that presents state-of-the-art integrated Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and hydrologic analysis software and techniques. This first paper presents an overview and discussion of GIS data types and map projections made possible by recent advances in computer technoloy, proliferation of spatial data and the use of GIS. These data offer scientist, engineers, watershed managers, and data collection agencies unprecedented capabilities for watershed investigations. This first paper covers the form in which the data is available, provides a list of available sources for the data and discusses limitations of the data. The data covered include landscape elevation data that are in electronic computer format, stream and drainage data that are either read electronically from maps or derived from the landscape elevation data, soil data from existing United States Department of Agriculture data bases, various remotely sensed data of land cover, detailed photography of the landscape, and radar precipitation data. The purpose of this paper is to provide the scientists and engineers who want to expand into the arena of spatial data and distributed watershed modeling with an insight into the wealth of existing data for GIS applications in watershed investigations.

Technical Abstract: The increasing proliferation of spatial data, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and models for hydrologic applications provide many new investigation opportunities, but also present a number of challenges for the uninitiated water resources practitioner. This two part paper is intended for the practicing engineer who wants to expand into the arena of spatial data and distributed watershed modeling. It provides an integrate overview of the multiple facets of data-GIS-modeling issues and a source of background information for selection and application of GIS in watershed modeling. This first paper addresses selected spatial data issues, data structures and projections, data sources, and information on data resolution and uncertainties. Spatial data that are covered include digital elevation data, stream and drainage data, soil data, remotely sensed data, and radar precipitation data. The focus is on data and issues sthat are common to many data-GIS-modeling applications. The second paper presents issues on and examples of GIS and hydrologic models, and provides recommendations with respect to organization and implementation of the integrated use of spatial data, GIS and distributed watershed models.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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