Validating Flood Mapping Products Using a Digital Elevation Model Comparison Technique

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Jessica Fayne, George Mason University Fairfax, Fairfax, VA, United States
This preliminary study assessed the validity of a pixel analysis elevation comparison technique and determined necessary steps for improvement. The pixel analysis sought to assess the probability of a flood occurring in a particular area by comparing the spatial extent of flood mapping products to the local elevation. The method was developed to determine if the physical relationship between elevation and floods as shown in satellite images is accurately represented in a flood mapping product. The data incorporated in this study are raster digital elevation model (DEM) tiles, a scene from Landsat 5 during a flood period, and a scene from the NASA DEVELOP Flood Disasters Team Flood Product. Pixels representing flooded areas were compared to the elevation height pixels using horizontal transect lines to create pixel value profiles across a 727 km transect of Vietnam and Cambodia. The elevation model comparison validates the Flood Product by depicting water presence in alignment with areas of low elevation. Initial findings indicate that the technique can be used to improve the assessment of flood mapping products in transects less than 10 km. Future research will focus on streamlining the pixel analysis process to yield comprehensive results for larger areas.