Preserving meander bend geometry through scale

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Stream meander geometry is a function of hydrologic, geologic, and anthropogenic forces. Meander morphometrics are used in geomorphic classification, ecological characterization, and tectonic and hydrologic change detection. Thus, detailed measurement and classification of meander geometry is imperative to multiscale representation of hydrographic features, which raises important questions. What meander geometries are important to preserve in multi-scale databases? How are geometries measured? How are they preserved? Is the choice between preservation of geometry or use of classification attributes? Questions related to multiscale measurement and representation of hydrographic features continue to emerge with increased spatial and temporal data collection.

A key metric for understanding meander bend geometry is sinuosity. The most common measure of sinuosity is the length of a feature divided by the distance between stream head and mouth. The measure relays deviation from a straight line but nothing about meander wavelength. There is not a clear consensus on methods for measuring meander geometry, much less efficiently, at scales made viable with increased data resolution. Here we propose a method for automated characterization of meander wavelength or bend radius. The method, termed Scale-Specific Sinuosity (S3), is a derivation from the Richardson plot. The Richardson (1961) plot is a classic means of calculating fractal dimension of natural line features and describes feature length (ℓ) given increasing vertex spacing, or step size (S), plotted on a log-log plot. The S3 metric is defined as negative one times the slope of a Richardson plot for a given stride length. This paper demonstrates utility of S3 for estimating changes in sinuosity with scale change.

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Preserving meander bend geometry through scale
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Arizona State University
Contributing office(s) Center for Geospatial Information Science (CEGIS)
Description 3 p.
Conference Title Second Annual SPARC Workshop, Scale and Spatial Analytics
Conference Location Tempe, AZ
Conference Date February 10-11, 2020
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