Flood inundation mapping and monitoring using SAR data and its impact on Ramganga River in Ganga basin

  • Ashwani Kumar Agnihotri
  • Anurag Ohri
  • Shishir Gaur
  • Shivam
  • Nilendu Das
  • Sachin MishraEmail author


Remote sensing–based flood inundation mapping and monitoring is very crucial input before, during, and after floods. Ganga–Ramganga doab is one of the prolonged flood-affected area in middle Ganga plain due to seasonal monsoon which leads to rise in water levels of Ganga and Ramganga rivers. The focus of the present study is to map severe flood condition captured through synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data during August–September 2018, and to explain the impact on Ramganga river morphology. SAR data is preferred for flood mapping and real-time monitoring in all weather conditions. In this study, dual-polarized (VV and VH) Sentinel-1 SAR images coupled with hydrological data (river water level) were used to produce flood inundation maps. Thresholding technique has been applied to determine the flood mapping through Sentinel-1 data. VH and VV polarisation methods have been applied for a comparison of their respective accuracies in delineating surface water. Results have been validated against a Sentinel-2 optical image, and both polarisations produced a total accuracy of more than 93%. VV polarisation has high accuracies than VH polarisation as similar results are observed in previous studies as well. The finding reveals that severe bank erosion took place in the Ramganga channel which significantly affected the channel morphology, mainly the massive mobilisation of channel sediments. The results show that the average channel width increased from 46 to 336 m. The proposed approach demonstrates that the microwave remote sensing data along with GIS can be used efficiently for flood inundation mapping, monitoring, and analysing its effect on channel morphology. Therefore, the results of this study will help to take the initiative to reduce the flood hazard impact in the doab area and increase the flexibility in the process of flood management.


SAR data Flood monitoring Ganga and Ramganga Doab GIS 



The authors are profoundly grateful to Prof. P.K.Singh, Head, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), for providing necessary facilities in Geoinformatics Engineering Laboratory to complete this study. In addition, the authors also would like to give special thanks to Dr. Prithvish Nag (former Surveyor General of India) for reviewing and adding positive comments on this manuscript.

Funding information

The authors express their gratitude to the University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi, India, for financial assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringIIT (BHU)VaranasiIndia
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryIIT (BHU)VaranasiIndia

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