This research work focuses on the generation of a high resolution digital surface model featuring complex urban surface characteristics in order to enrich the database for runoff simulations of urban drainage systems. The discussion of global climate change and its possible consequences have taken centre stage over the last decade. Global climate change has triggered more erratic weather patterns by causing severe and unpredictable rainfall events in many parts of the world. The incidence of more frequent rainfall has led to the problem of increased flooding in urban areas. The increased property values of urban structures and threats to people's personal safety have hastened the demand for a detailed urban drainage simulation model for accurate flood prediction. Although the use of 2D hydraulic modelling approach in rural floodplains is in practice for quite a long time, the use of the same approach in urban floodplains is still in its infancy. The reason is mainly due to the lack of a high resolution topographic model describing urban surface characteristics properly.
High resolution surface data describing hydrologic and hydraulic properties of complex urban areas are the prerequisite to more accurately describing and simulating the flood water movement and thereby taking adequate measures against urban flooding. Airborne LiDAR (Light detection and ranging) is an efficient way of generating a high resolution Digital Surface Model (DSM) of any study area. The processing of high-density and large volume of unstructured LiDAR data is a difficult and time-consuming task towards generating fine resolution spatial databases when considering only human intervention. The application of robust algorithms in terms of processing this massive volume of data can significantly reduce the data processing time and thereby increase the degree of automation as well as accuracy.
This research work presents a number of techniques pertaining to processing, filtering and classification of LiDAR point data in order to achieve higher degree of automation and accuracy towards generating a high resolution urban surface model. This research work also describes the use of ancillary datasets such as aerial images and topographic maps in combination with LiDAR data for feature detection and surface characterization. The integration of various data sources facilitates detailed modelling of street networks and accurate detection of various urban surface types (e.g. grasslands, bare soil and impervious surfaces).
While the accurate characterization of various surface types contributes to the better modelling of rainfall runoff processes, the application of LiDAR-derived fine resolution DSM serves as input to 2D hydraulic models and capable of simulating surface flooding scenarios in cases the sewer systems are surcharged.
Thus, this research work develops high resolution spatial databases aiming at improving the accuracy of hydrologic and hydraulic databases of urban drainage systems. Later, these databases are given as input to a standard flood simulation software in order to: 1) test the suitability of the databases for running the simulation; 2) assess the performance of the hydraulic capacity of urban drainage systems and 3) predict and visualize the surface flooding scenarios in order to take necessary flood protection measures.