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A spatiotemporal data model for river basin-scale hydrologic systems

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Despite a long history of synergy, current techniques for integrating Geographic Information System (GIS) software with hydrologic simulation models do not fully utilize the potential of GIS for modeling hydrologic systems. Part of the reason for this is a lack of GIS data models appropriate for representing fluid flow in space and time. Here we address this challenge by proposing a spatiotemporal data model designed specifically for large-scale river basin systems. The data model builds from core concepts in geographic information science and extends these concepts to accommodate mathematical representations of fluid flow at a regional scale. Space-time is abstracted into three basic objects relevant to hydrologic systems: a control volume, a flux and a flux coupler. A control volume is capable of storing mass, energy or momentum through time, a flux represents the movement of these quantities within space-time and a flux coupler insures conservation of the quantities within an overall system. To demonstrate the data model, a simple case study is presented to show how the data model could be applied to digitally represent a river basin system.
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Keywords: Data integration; GIScience; Hydrology modeling; Spatiotemporal data modeling

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA 2: Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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