Maps and the Internet

Land Information

5501.2 - Interactive and uncertainty-aware delineation of catchment areas within an IAAS-infrastructure

Wednesday, July 5
1:50 PM - 2:10 PM
Location: Delaware A

Finding efficient solutions for handling uncertainties in digital elevation models has been in the research agenda of geographical information science for decades. Opposite to predictions given already 25 years ago, real-world applications implementing the ideas of uncertainty propagation are mostly lacking despite the enormous expansion of computing capacity. Meanwhile, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) has become a salient alternative to share resources, like hardware and network, between actors to implement cost-efficient irregularly required analysis services. We present an implementation of an on-demand tool for delineating catchment areas that is both uncertainty-aware and interactive. The server-side of the system is composed of two server instances in an OpenStack cloud: a minimal web server continuously in full swing and a within-the-cloud visible high-performance computing (HPC) instance.

The web server is based on open source components, such as PostGIS, Zoo, GeoServer, and GDAL. The server hosts a Leaflet-based web map application used to initiate analyses and visualize their results. User-set parameters are communicated from the web map application to the server through a standardized Web Processing Service interface allowing also other clients to connect the service. Moreover, a Web Map Service (WMS) interface provides the base maps, stream networks, and solved catchment boundaries.

The web server forwards the analysis request to the HPC-server, and if it is suspended the web server launches it. The HPC-server computes the uncertainty-aware boundary using an MPI-parallelized Monte Carlo approach. It produces a multi-resolution raster of the analysis result. In the web server, the raster is further processed according to the client application’s request parameters and put RESTfully available from the WMS service. The HPC-server is put to a suspended state if not used for a longer period. This way it is not needlessly reserving computing resources.

The service is available for the whole area of Finland and the results of the analysis are available within a couple of seconds or minutes, depending on the size of the catchment area and number of iterations.

Janne Kovanen

Senior Research Scientist
National Land Survey of Finland

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Ville Mäkinen

Senior researcher
National Land Survey of Finland

Ville mäkinen (Ph.D.) is working as a senior researcher in the Department of Geoinformatics and Cartography at the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, National Land Survey of Finland. He received the Ph.D. degree in theoretical physics from the University of Jyväskylä in 2013. His research interests include numerical computer simulations on parallel architectures and hydrological analyses.

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Juha Oksanen

Research manager
National Land Survey of Finland

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Tapani Sarjakoski

National Land Survey of Finland

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Kelleann Foster

Associate Dean
Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Penn State University

Kelleann Foster, RLA, ASLA is Associate Dean and Director of the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Penn State University. She is a licensed landscape architect whose research focuses on designing sustainable communities. She has 30+ years of professional practice experience and over 25-years at Penn State. Her recent sabbatical, based at Esri, resulted in Penn State’s new online Geodesign graduate programs. Much of Kelleann’s work uses computer technologies to communicate alternative scenarios. Her work has received national and international recognition. Her expertise, highlighted in a recent publication in a special issue of Landscape and Urban Planning titled “Geodesign parsed: Placing it within the rubric of recognized design theories,” places her among leaders of the emerging field of geodesign.

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