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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Terrain drainage features and queries Yu, Sidi


Terrain drainage characteristics are of interest to a number of fields such as hydrology, hydraulic engineering, natural resources management, flood control, environmental sciences, geographic information systems, etc. The traditional way of obtaining terrain drainage characteristics information is to have human operators visually identify and delineate terrain features of interest from aerial photography or contour maps. The disadvantages of this mode of operation are obviously the tediousness, the inefficiency of the process, and the inaccuracy of the information thus obtained. Over the past twenty years, considerable research effort has been devoted to automatic generation of terrain drainage information using digital computers. Significant progress has been observed in this field. Yet most of the research done in this area does not share common definitions of terms. Some publications have attempted to address this problem by proposing general definitions that are not tied to a particular data representation or algorithm. We perceive this as the direction to follow for all future research in this area. This thesis sets out to further develop the general definitions of terrain drainage characteristics. Particular terrain features such as pits, peaks, water courses, ridges are defined, and methods for identifying them are presented. Suggestions for data structures and algorithms are also given. The methods proposed not only solve the standard problems, but answer additional interesting queries as well. Proofs of computational complexity are given for the more important algorithms and problems.

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