Can someone please direct me to a tutorial where I can learn more about how to model flooding using data from gauging stations along rivers using QGIS?

  • Does it have to be in qgis? ESRI has an Arc Hydro product that may meet your need.
    – Dano
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 16:11
  • 3
    Have you at least done a quick Google search? What have you found so far?
    – R.K.
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 16:44
  • Google hasn't delivered what I'm looking for - just tantalizing snippets which don't actually show me the correct procedure to follow. QGIS is all that I have right now, otherwise Arc Hydro would have been perfect.
    – Bernie
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 19:35
  • For the QGIS plugins, use the "Fetch Python Plugins..." item in the the menu. You should at least get access to the Official Repository 2.
    – Willy
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 12:15
  • I managed to fetch the plugins earlier, but only from the official repository. Since the r.hazard.flood plugin is not listed, I attempted to connect to the Osgeo repository. The connection was successful, but did not list the option I was looking for.
    – Bernie
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 17:53

5 Answers 5


If you use GRASS GIS as backend in QGIS (via QGIS-GRASS toolbox or Sextante plugin), you can use a range of hydrological tools. See http://grass.osgeo.org/wiki/Hydrological_Sciences for options.

  • Thanks, I've seen the page and it was most interesting. Because I'm just starting out with the more advanced functions, I was looking for tutorials which could help me figure out the correct way of rendering maps which can be used to model flooding.
    – Bernie
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 19:33
  • 1
    Maybe this is interesting: svn.osgeo.org/grass/grass-addons/grass6/raster/r.hazard.flood/… (installation: "g.extension r.hazard.flood").
    – markusN
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 7:08
  • Thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for. Just a really stupid question though - how do I go about 'fetching' the plugin?
    – Bernie
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 12:04
  • Ok, figured it out where to find r.hazard.flood. Thanks to everyone for pointing me in the right direction :)
    – Bernie
    Commented Oct 23, 2012 at 18:10
  • This does not look like a tutorial as requested by the asker.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 1:04

The GRASS recommendation from @markusN is a good one. Another option, although it's not integrated into QGIS, is the Gerris Flow Solver. GFS is a tremendously powerful hydraulic and hydrological modeling tool. From the site:

Gerris is a Free Software program for the solution of the partial differential equations describing fluid flow. The source code is available free of charge under the Free Software GPL license.

Gerris was created by Stéphane Popinet and is supported by NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research) and Institut Jean le Rond d'Alembert.

A brief summary of its main features:

  • Solves the time-dependent incompressible variable-density Euler, Stokes or Navier-Stokes equations
  • Solves the linear and non-linear shallow-water equations
  • Adaptive mesh refinement: the resolution is adapted dynamically to the features of the flow
  • Entirely automatic mesh generation in complex geometries
  • Second-order in space and time
  • Unlimited number of advected/diffused passive tracers
  • Flexible specification of additional source terms
  • Portable parallel support using the MPI library, dynamic load-balancing, parallel offline visualisation
  • Volume of Fluid advection scheme for interfacial flows
  • Accurate surface tension model
  • Multiphase electrohydrodynamics

There is also a very detailed tutorial on the Karamea river, in New Zealand. If you follow that example you will learn a lot about the software, flood visualization, and hydraulic modeling.

  • Thank you so much! GFS looks great and I will certainly give it a try.
    – Bernie
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 6:07

Have a look at Crayfish for QGIS


"Crayfish is a plugin (extension) developed by Lutra Consulting for the free and open source GIS platform Quantum GIS (QGIS).

The Crayfish plugin aspires to be a complete set of pre and post-processing tools for hydraulic modellers using TUFLOW, ISIS 2D and other modelling packages."


Personally, I have no experience with it.

  • Thanks, found the plugin and will play around with it to see what all I can do with it.
    – Bernie
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 15:13

Sort of depends where you are (which country) on what software and methods are usually used or are standardised on - some councils, state governments and governments have required methods. Also what sort of area are you looking at modelling ? Urban, rural ???

eg for Australia have a read of the www.arr.org.au site. They are in the process of releasing updated guidelines and some state governments are in the process of releasing their required methods. drafts chapters of their new releases www.arr.org.au/downloads-and-software/chapters/

QGIS and SAGA are very useful

WBN have released a tuflow plugin for QGIS back in april (2014)

They also have a tutorial for using qgis to prepare models for tuflow http://www.tuflow.com/GIS%20Platforms.aspx?QGIS_and_SAGA http://wiki.tuflow.com/index.php?title=Main_Page

Drains for urban pipe and drain flow (required by some councils) also for flows into pipe and drains for tuflow www.watercom.com.au/download.html

Can download hecas for free

In the US be very careful about units as some states use metric and some US imperial for their data.


QGIS 3.x series has native Mesh Layer that uses MDAL library to read many formats used in flood modeling. I suggest doing online course on hydraulical modeling in QGIS or read book "QGIS for Hydrological Applications" by Hans van der Kwast and Kurt Menke

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