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Arc Hydro Hydronetwork Drainage systems Channels Time Series Modeling Hydrologic integration. Arc Hydro: GIS for Water Resources. David R. Maidment, University of Texas at Austin. The Arc Hydro data model and application tools are in the public domain.

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arc hydro gis for water resources
Arc Hydro


Drainage systems


Time Series


Hydrologic integration

Arc Hydro: GIS for Water Resources

David R. Maidment, University of Texas at Austin

The Arc Hydro data model and

application tools are in the public


gis in water resources consortium
Bringing together these two communities by using a common geospatial data model

Arc Hydro design took 3 years from 1999 - 2002




GIS in Water Resources Consortium

Water Resources


Hydrologic Information System

Analysis, Modeling,

Decision Making

Arc Hydro


geographic data model
Geographic Data Model
  • Conceptual Model – a set of concepts that describe a subject and allow reasoning about it
  • Mathematical Model – a conceptual model expressed in equations
  • Data Model – a conceptual model expressed in a data structure
  • Geographic Data Model – a data model for describing and reasoning about the world
what is arc hydro
What is Arc Hydro?
  • A geographic data model for storing geospatial and temporal water resources data in ArcGIS
    • A set of hydro objects built on top of ArcObjects
    • A set of standardized attributes
    • A vocabulary for describing data (glossary)
    • A toolset for implementing the data model

Drainage System

Hydro Network



Time Series


Channel System

Arc Hydro Data Model

arcgis hydro data model
ArcGIS Hydro Data Model




Data Model

Based on



Drainage Areas



Terrain Surfaces

Rainfall Response

Digital Orthophotos

data model based on behavior
Data Model Based on Behavior

Follow a drop of water from where it falls on the land, to the stream, and all the way to the ocean.

integrating data inventory using a behavioral model
Integrating Data Inventory using a Behavioral Model

Relationships between

objects linked by tracing path

of water movement


Arc Hydro Framework Input Data




Monitoring Points

national hydro data programs http www crwr utexas edu giswr nhdconf nationalhydro html
National Hydro Data Programs

National Elevation Dataset


National Hydrography Dataset


Elevation Derivatives for

National Application (EDNA)

Watershed Boundary Dataset


HydroNetwork through Canyon Lake

Flowlines through water body

Generic Junction

(for topological connection of edges)

network tracing
Network Tracing

Upstream Tracing

Downstream Tracing


Watersheds of the Guadalupe Basin

NWS forecast







(water quality)

TNRCC water

availability points

(water supply)


Scales of representation of Drainage Systems

Basins – drainage areas for water

resources management

Watersheds – subdivision of Basin

for a particular hydrologic purpose

Catchments – subdivision of Basin into elementary drainage areas by physical rules

Digital Elevation Model –

land surface terrain grid cells

guadalupe network
Guadalupe Network

Study area only 1.4 km!

study area guadalupe river near seguin tx
Study Area (Guadalupe river near Seguin, TX)

1/2 meter Digital Ortho Photography

depth sounder echo sounder
Depth Sounder (Echo Sounder)

The electronic depth sounder operates in a similar way to radar It sends out an electronic pulse which echoes back from the bed. The echo is timed electronically and transposed into a reading of the depth of water.

differential gps bank to boat
Differential GPS: Bank to Boat

GPS gives the location of each point collected in terms of latitude and longitude. Two locations for differential GPS.

channel data
Channel Data

Each point has (x,y,z)


Points are interpolated in ArcMap to produce a continuous surface.


Define the centerline along the thalweg of the channel

measure in arcgis
Measure in ArcGIS

Measures are assigned in meters





A PolylineM can store m-values at each vertex along with x and y coordinates.

coordinate transformation
Coordinate Transformation

m is measure along the centerline

r is distance across the river from the centerline

Sinuous river becomes straight when transformed into (m,r) co-ordinates.

coordinate transformation1
Coordinate Transformation

Straightened river

Profile line and cross-sections

Sinuous river

data back to x y coordinates
Data back to x,y coordinates

Profile lines and cross-sections in (x,y) created using FishNet in (m,r).

Original river in X,Y

arc hydro time series object
Arc Hydro Time Series Object





national water information system
National Water Information System

Arc Hydro NWIS data

retrieval tool

Web access to USGS

water resources data

retrieving nwis data
Retrieving NWIS Data
  • Select Gage Layer
  • Enter Period of Record
streamflow time series
Streamflow Time Series

Arc Hydro Time Series Table

time series extracted to excel in excel use data get external data to query geodatabase
Time Series Extracted to Excel(In Excel, use Data/Get External Data to query Geodatabase)





nexrad data for florida
Real-time Nexrad data supplied every 15 minutes on a 2km grid

Data from 14 radars calibrated with 435 rain gages

At end of month more careful calibration is done for historical rain map archive

Nexrad Data for Florida
hrap cells for nexrad data
HRAP Cells for Nexrad Data

Average area = 14.5 km2

gis and hydrologic modeling where are we now
GIS and Hydrologic Modeling: Where are we now?
  • All the major hydrologic models have GIS data support systems
    • HEC-GeoHMS, HEC-GeoRAS, GIS-Weasel for MMS, Mike-11GIS, WMS, ….
  • An extensive body of experience in terrain processing for hydrology has been built up
  • Standardized national geospatial datasets for hydrology
    • National Elevation Dataset, EDNA, National Hydrography Dataset, Watershed Boundary Dataset
gis and hydrologic modeling where are we going to
GIS and Hydrologic Modeling: Where are we going to?
  • Integrated data and modeling systems e.g. Corps Water Management System, EPA Basins, DHI Mike Objects, …..
    • Integration of observational (time series) data, geospatial data, model-derived data
  • Integration of vector, raster and time series data in a database management system
  • A language (vocabulary and grammar) for communicating between databases and models e.g. XML
arc hydro and modeling
Arc Hydro and Modeling
  • Intrinsic Modeling – within a particular application eg Excel, ArcGIS, custom objects
  • Dynamic Linked Library – tightly coupled package of functions (e.g. LibHydro from HEC)
  • Independent Modeling – separate hydrologic model with data exchange
dynamic linked library
Dynamic Linked Library

Can have



in a DLL


flow routing


Independent Hydrologic Model

VB progam reads and writes

text files


Analysis, Modeling,

Decision Making

Arc Hydro


Interfaces to Arc Hydro Data and Models



Relational Database


Visual Basic


Vertical and Horizontal

Water Balance

Atmospheric Water

Soil Water

Surface Water


what software do you need
What software do you need?
  • ArcView 8.2
    • Viewing, querying existing geodatabases
    • Editing feature classes and adding data
  • Spatial Analyst for ArcGIS
    • To operate the raster tools in Arc Hydro
  • ArcInfo 8.2
    • To build geometric networks and create new relationships

Arc Hydro tools and data model are on CD at back of

Arc Hydro book and available on web at

learning arc hydro
Learning Arc Hydro
  • “Arc Hydro—GIS for Water Resources” book from ESRI Press
  • Tutorial on tools and sample dataset on CD at back of book
  • Exercises in Fall 2002 GIS in Water Resources class
  • GISWR website
  • ESRI’s Arc Online (discussion forum)