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Drainage network extraction from a high-resolution DEM using parallel programming in the .NET Framework

Du, Chao, Ye, Aizhong, Gan, Yanjun, You, Jinjun, Duan, Qinyun, Ma, Feng, Hou, Jingwen
Journal of hydrology 2017 v.555 pp. 506-517
basins, computer software, computers, digital elevation models, drainage, rivers, watersheds, Yellow River
High-resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) can be used to extract high-accuracy prerequisite drainage networks. A higher resolution represents a larger number of grids. With an increase in the number of grids, the flow direction determination will require substantial computer resources and computing time. Parallel computing is a feasible method with which to resolve this problem. In this paper, we proposed a parallel programming method within the .NET Framework with a C# Compiler in a Windows environment. The basin is divided into sub-basins, and subsequently the different sub-basins operate on multiple threads concurrently to calculate flow directions. The method was applied to calculate the flow direction of the Yellow River basin from 3 arc-second resolution SRTM DEM. Drainage networks were extracted and compared with HydroSHEDS river network to assess their accuracy. The results demonstrate that this method can calculate the flow direction from high-resolution DEMs efficiently and extract high-precision continuous drainage networks.