A rapid approach for automated comparison of independently derived stream networks

Cartography and Geographic Information Science
By: , and 



This paper presents an improved coefficient of line correspondence (CLC) metric for automatically assessing the similarity of two different sets of linear features. Elevation-derived channels at 1:24,000 scale (24K) are generated from a weighted flow-accumulation model and compared to 24K National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) flowlines. The CLC process conflates two vector datasets through a raster line-density differencing approach that is faster and more reliable than earlier methods. Methods are tested on 30 subbasins distributed across different terrain and climate conditions of the conterminous United States. CLC values for the 30 subbasins indicate 44–83% of the features match between the two datasets, with the majority of the mismatching features comprised of first-order features. Relatively lower CLC values result from subbasins with less than about 1.5 degrees of slope. The primary difference between the two datasets may be explained by different data capture criteria. First-order, headwater tributaries derived from the flow-accumulation model are captured more comprehensively through drainage area and terrain conditions, whereas capture of headwater features in the NHD is cartographically constrained by tributary length. The addition of missing headwaters to the NHD, as guided by the elevation-derived channels, can substantially improve the scientific value of the NHD.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A rapid approach for automated comparison of independently derived stream networks
Series title Cartography and Geographic Information Science
DOI 10.1080/15230406.2015.1060869
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) NGTOC Rolla
Description 14 p.
First page 435
Last page 448
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