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A Distributed Computing Workflow for Modelling Environmental Flows in Complex Terrain

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Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT,volume 448)


Numerical modelling of extreme environmental flows such as flash floods, avalanches and mudflows can be used to understand fundamental processes, predict outcomes and assess the loss potential of future events. These extreme flows can produce complicated and dynamic free surfaces as a result of interactions with the terrain and built environment. In order to resolve these features that may affect flows, high resolution, accurate terrain models are required. However, terrain models can be difficult and costly to acquire, and often lack detail of important flow steering structures such as bridges or debris. To overcome these issues we have developed a photogrammetry workflow for reconstructing high spatial resolution three dimensional terrain models. The workflow utilises parallel and distributed computing to provide inexpensive terrain models that can then be used in numerical simulations of environmental flows. A section of Quebrada San Lazaro within the city of Arequipa, Peru is used as a case study to demonstrate the construction and usage of the terrain models and applicability of the workflow for a flash flood scenario.


  • Structure-from-Motion
  • photogrammetry
  • numerical modelling
  • rapid mass flow
  • natural hazards


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Mead, S.R., Prakash, M., Magill, C., Bolger, M., Thouret, JC. (2015). A Distributed Computing Workflow for Modelling Environmental Flows in Complex Terrain. In: Denzer, R., Argent, R.M., Schimak, G., Hřebíček, J. (eds) Environmental Software Systems. Infrastructures, Services and Applications. ISESS 2015. IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, vol 448. Springer, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-15993-5

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-15994-2

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