I have a (relatively) High resolution DSM of the Country side, and want to figure out the extent of area that will be flooded if the Embankment/levee fails at a a given point.

Something like this: http://magic-gis.com/muscatineflood/index.html?appid=42cc730f8b20415d92ead71a89a22322&webmap=a90fb531890740c490ebeb25b2234876

I'm trying to do some research on this, and I'm drawing a blank, mostly because I don't know what this is called. Without proper keywords, A Google Search is extremely fruitless.

What is this kind of Analysis called? Are there any standard Algorithms/Models for this?

Are there any freely available tools for doing this kind of Analysis?

  • 2
    Hey if this is for a serious application you should hire a hydraulics engineer. I work for an engineering firm and there are some serious implications for this type of study.
    – Barrett
    Aug 12 '16 at 14:48
  • I Wish I could!. I'll much rather have a professional do this; But this is for a rural village in India, and there are absolutely no funds. Aug 12 '16 at 14:50
    – Joseph
    Aug 12 '16 at 14:51
  • Visit @whuber site, he has an example of flooding, very cool as always
    – FelixIP
    Aug 12 '16 at 19:58
  • Note that while most standard GIS "flow" tools are based purely on topography, this is not always fully appropriate. In low-relief areas, such as most deltas, the water-surface slope can differ significantly from the land slope (i.e. water can flow "uphill"). This is commonly a first-order effect. Dynamic effects can also play a role, as in the classic "dam break" problem, although for a levee breach this is less likely.
    – GeoMatt22
    Aug 31 '16 at 4:36

Hydraulic models can tell a lot of different things. 1D, 2D and 3D models can tell different information. Apparently 3D models will give velocities and depth. The speed of breach also can be calculated. Small lakes can breach really quickly maybe 5 minutes, but large lakes might take hours.

These models can take a long time to run depending on the area its calculting.

There is a program that will do this for you. It has a free version but to simulate a dam breach you have to buy it.


NRCS offers TR-60, TR-66 to also use. Also check out HEC-RAS.

Send a message if you really need help there is a guy in my office who has done these studies before. He might be able to walk us through some more specifics.

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