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Robust algorithm for detecting floodwater in urban areas using Synthetic Aperture Radar images

Mason, D. C., Dance, S. L., Vetra-Carvalho, S. and Cloke, H. L. (2018) Robust algorithm for detecting floodwater in urban areas using Synthetic Aperture Radar images. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, 12 (4). 045011. ISSN 1931-3195

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1117/1.JRS.12.045011

Abstract/Summary

Flooding is a major hazard in both rural and urban areas worldwide, but it is in urban areas that the impacts are most severe. High resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors are able to detect flood extents in urban areas during both day- and night-time. If obtained in near real-time, these flood extents can be used for emergency flood relief management or as observations for assimilation into flood forecasting models. In this paper a method for detecting flooding in urban areas using near real-time SAR data is developed and extensively tested under a variety of scenarios involving different flood events and different images. The method uses a SAR simulator in conjunction with LiDAR data of the urban area to predict areas of radar shadow and layover in the image caused by buildings and taller vegetation. Of the urban water pixels visible to the SAR, the flood detection accuracy averaged over the test examples was 83%, with a false alarm rate of 9%. The results indicate that flooding can be detected in the urban area to reasonable accuracy, but that this accuracy is limited partly by the SAR’s poor visibility of the urban ground surface due to shadow and layover.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:80110
Publisher:Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)

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