A New Method for Computing the Drainage Network Based on Raising the Level of an Ocean Surrounding the Terrain

  • Salles V. G. Magalhães
  • Marcus V. A. Andrade
  • W. Randolph Franklin
  • Guilherme C. Pena
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


We present a new and faster internal memory method to compute the drainage network, that is, the flow direction and accumulation on terrains represented by raster elevation matrix. The main idea is to surround the terrain by water (as an island) and then to raise the outside water level step by step, with depressions filled when the water reaches their boundary. This process avoids the very time-consuming depression filling step used by most of the methods to compute flow routing, that is, the flow direction and accumulated flow. The execution time of our method is very fast, and linear in the terrain size. Tests have shown that our method can process large terrains more than 100 times faster than other recent methods.


Hydrology Drainage network Flow routing Flow accumulation Terrain processing 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salles V. G. Magalhães
    • 1
  • Marcus V. A. Andrade
    • 1
  • W. Randolph Franklin
    • 2
  • Guilherme C. Pena
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Informatics (DPI)University Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil
  2. 2.ECSERensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA

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