Precision mapping of boundaries of flood plain river basins using high-resolution satellite imagery: A case study of the Varuna river basin in Uttar Pradesh, India

  • Mallikarjun MishraEmail author
  • Vikas Dugesar
  • K N Prudhviraju
  • Shyam Babu Patel
  • Kshitij Mohan


Accurate demarcation of river basin boundaries is an important input for any programme connected with watershed management. In the present study, the boundary of the Varuna river basin is automatically derived using coarse- and medium-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) of SRTM-30 m, ASTER-30 m, Cartosat-30 m, ALOS Palsar-12.5 m and Cartosat-10 m as well as manually through on-screen digitisation from a very high-resolution 1 m \(\times \) 1 m remote sensing data available as Google Earth image. The study demonstrated the efficacy of on-screen digitisation from high-resolution Google Earth image supported by detailed field observations in the precision mapping of the place of origin of the Varuna River, its stream network and basin boundary when compared to the maps generated through automatic methods using DEMs of various resolutions. The Varuna river system takes its headwaters from the areas surrounding Umran and Dain ‘tals’ (shallow, large depressions/basins) but not from the west of Mau Aima town as has been previously reported.


Varuna river origin catchment DEMs Google Earth image 



The authors gratefully acknowledge Google Earth for the free availability of high-resolution satellite data and mapping tools. The authors are thankful to the anonymous reviewers and editor whose criticism has immensely helped improve this paper. They are thankful to the Head, Department of Geography, Institute of Science, Banaras Hindu University, for providing laboratory facilities to carry out this work. One of the authors (Mallikarjun Mishra) is thankful to the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, for awarding a Junior Research Fellowship.


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© Indian Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography, Institute of ScienceBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

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