Synoptic evaluation of scale-dependent metrics for hydrographic line feature geometry

By: , and 


  • The Publications Warehouse does not have links to digital versions of this publication at this time
  • Download citation as: RIS | Dublin Core


Methods of acquisition and feature simplification for vector feature data impact cartographic representations and scientific investigations of these data, and are therefore important considerations for geographic information science (Haunert and Sester 2008). After initial collection, linear features may be simplified to reduce excessive detail or to furnish a reduced-scale version of the features through cartographic generalization (Regnauld and McMaster 2008, Stanislawski et al. 2014). A variety of algorithms exist to simplify linear cartographic features, and all of the methods affect the positional accuracy of the features (Shahriari and Tao 2002, Regnauld and McMaster 2008, Stanislawski et al. 2012). In general, simplification operations are controlled by one or more tolerance parameters that limit the amount of positional change the operation can make to features. Using a single tolerance value can have varying levels of positional change on features; depending on local shape, texture, or geometric characteristics of the original features (McMaster and Shea 1992, Shahriari and Tao 2002, Buttenfield et al. 2010). Consequently, numerous researchers have advocated calibration of simplification parameters to control quantifiable properties of resulting changes to the features (Li and Openshaw 1990, Raposo 2013, Tobler 1988, Veregin 2000, and Buttenfield, 1986, 1989).

This research identifies relations between local topographic conditions and geometric characteristics of linear features that are available in the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD). The NHD is a comprehensive vector dataset of surface 18 th ICA Workshop on Generalisation and Multiple Representation, Rio de Janiero, Brazil 2015 2 water features within the United States that is maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). In this paper, geometric characteristics of cartographic representations for natural stream and river features are summarized for subbasin watersheds within entire regions of the conterminous United States and compared to topographic metrics. A concurrent processing workflow is implemented using a Linux high-performance computing cluster to simultaneously process multiple subbasins, and thereby complete the work in a fraction of the time required for a single-process environment. In addition, similar metrics are generated for several levels of simplification of the hydrographic features to quantify the effects of simplification over the various landscape conditions.

Objectives of this exploratory investigation are to quantify geometric characteristics of linear hydrographic features over the various terrain conditions within the conterminous United States and thereby illuminate relations between stream geomorphological conditions and cartographic representation. The synoptic view of these characteristics over regional watersheds that is afforded through concurrent processing, in conjunction with terrain conditions, may reveal patterns for classifying cartographic stream features into stream geomorphological classes. Furthermore, the synoptic measurement of the amount of change in geometric characteristics caused by the several levels of simplification can enable estimation of tolerance values that appropriately control simplification-induced geometric change of the cartographic features within the various geomorphological classes in the country. Hence, these empirically derived rules or relations could help generate multiscale-representations of features through automated generalization that adequately maintain surface drainage variations and patterns reflective of the natural stream geomorphological conditions across the country.

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Abstract or summary
Title Synoptic evaluation of scale-dependent metrics for hydrographic line feature geometry
Year Published 2015
Language English
Contributing office(s) Center for Geospatial Information Science (CEGIS)
Description 14 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title 18th ICA Workshop on Generalisation and Multiple Representation
Conference Title 18th ICA Workshop on Generalisation and Multiple Representation
Conference Location Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Conference Date August 21, 2015
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional metadata about this publication, not found in other parts of the page is in this table