A system of numerical hydraulic modeling, geographic information system processing, and Internet map serving, supported by new data sources and application automation, was developed that generates inundation maps for forecast floods in near real time and makes them available through the Internet. Forecasts for flooding are generated by the National Weather Service (NWS) River Forecast Center (RFC); these forecasts are retrieved automatically by the system and prepared for input to a hydraulic model. The model, TrimR2D, is a new, robust, two-dimensional model capable of simulating wide varieties of discharge hydrographs and relatively long stream reaches. TrimR2D was calibrated for a 28-kilometer reach of the Snoqualmie River in Washington State, and is used to estimate flood extent, depth, arrival time, and peak time for the RFC forecast. The results of the model are processed automatically by a Geographic Information System (GIS) into maps of flood extent, depth, and arrival and peak times. These maps subsequently are processed into formats acceptable by an Internet map server (IMS). The IMS application is a user-friendly interface to access the maps over the Internet; it allows users to select what information they wish to see presented and allows the authors to define scale-dependent availability of map layers and their symbology (appearance of map features). For example, the IMS presents a background of a digital USGS 1:100,000-scale quadrangle at smaller scales, and automatically switches to an ortho-rectified aerial photograph (a digital photograph that has camera angle and tilt distortions removed) at larger scales so viewers can see ground features that help them identify their area of interest more effectively. For the user, the option exists to select either background at any scale. Similar options are provided for both the map creator and the viewer for the various flood maps. This combination of a robust model, emerging IMS software, and application interface programming should allow the technology developed in the pilot study to be applied to other river systems where NWS forecasts are provided routinely.
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Near-real-time simulation and internet-based delivery of forecast-flood inundation maps using two-dimensional hydraulic modeling--A pilot study for the Snoqualmie River, Washington