High-Resolution Hydrography: A lesson in creating flexible scientific algorithms to handle both todays and tomorrows remote sensing data

Presenter: Kimberly McCormack, Ph.D., Geodetic Earth Scientist, Office of Geomatics, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Slides: https://uofi.app.box.com/s/b7zrzubqk04zd0do42qd3utpkpsnzwkm

Video: https://uofi.app.box.com/s/mhc5khm9nldkwaqioe1vxdvphr1z2gai


Global and regional scale hydrologic models depend on the availability of stream networks with sufficient accuracy, attribution, and coverage. Existing global DEM-derived stream net- works are limited by the resolution and accuracy of the source DEM, impacting the accuracy of stream placement and connectivity. Until now, the best available global stream networks have been derived from an SRTM-based DEM at a 90m resolution.

TanDEM-X Hydro (TX-Hydro) is a new data suite which includes global streams, basins, and hydrologically-conditioned elevation data derived from 12m TanDEM-X data. The dataset was processed through a custom, automated hydrologic-conditioning workflow on the Bluewaters super computer in the fall of 2021.

This seminar will cover the details of the TX-Hydro project, as well as the roadmap used by the developers to create a flexible, robust, and (reasonably) efficient applied science workflow in an HPC environment. The considerations and roadblocks for applied geospatial workflows are distinct from those in numerical or machine learning models. We will look at computational bottlenecks, data mishaps, and edge cases encountered on the way to a 12m global river network.


Kimberly is a Geodetic Earth Scientist at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Her research interests include remote sensing hydrology, groundwater, and natural hazards. She received her Ph.D. in Geoscience from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018, where she focused on modeling the relationships between earthquakes, groundwater systems and observable surface deformation. She graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2013 with a B.S. in Geophysics. She was also a member of South Carolina’s NCAA Equestrian team.