Publication Date


Committee Chair

Mark P. Kumler, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Karen K. Kemp, Ph.D.
David Lovell


The analyst has created a model using ESRI model builder software, spatial analyst, and 3D extensions, to create a simulated dam burst for analysis purposes. The main software packages utilized were ESRI’s ArcGIS 9.0, Leica’s Erdas Imagine, and the United States Army Corps of Engineer’s (USACE) Hydrologic Engineering Center River Stream Analysis (HEC-RAS). The analyst has also included the ESRI HEC-GeoRAS extension and the ESRI Arc Hydro extension in the analysis. Many processes were automated using ESRI’s model builder toolset; however the model could be interrupted whenever human decision-making was required. The main intention of the model was to automate many of the more computationally intensive processes to allow the analyst more efficient use of their time. The final output desired was a polygon shapefile of the potential flooded area. This polygon was used for further analysis of critical infrastructure data sets affected.

The analysis included three different methods. The first method showed the resulting graphics using HEC-RAS. The second method used the ESRI HEC-GeoRAS extension in ArcGIS 8.3. The third method tried to emulate HEC-RAS software results using ArcGIS 9.0 with the Spatial Analyst and Arc Hydro extensions. The results were compared graphically and dramatic differences were evident.

This model is suitable for use by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for analysis relating to a possible terrorist-induced event involving a dam burst. Since most processes will be automated, the training involved for new analysts will be minimal. The analyst’s employer, NGA, has an extremely large database which lends itself well to use in a working model. The analyst intends to use the newly created model on other critical infrastructure data sets, such as chemical plants, oil refineries, and nuclear facilities.


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