Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5138

Prepared in cooperation with the City of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water

Observed and Forecast Flood-Inundation Mapping Application: A Pilot Study of an Eleven-Mile Reach of the White River, Indianapolis, Indiana

By Moon H. Kim, Scott E. Morlock, Leslie D. Arihood, and James L. Kiesler

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (9.78 MB) Abstract

Near-real-time and forecast flood-inundation mapping products resulted from a pilot study for an 11-mile reach of the White River in Indianapolis. The study was done by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Indiana Silver Jackets hazard mitigation taskforce members, the National Weather Service (NWS), the Polis Center, and Indiana University, in cooperation with the City of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water. The pilot project showed that it is technically feasible to create a flood-inundation map library by means of a two-dimensional hydraulic model, use a map from the library to quickly complete a moderately detailed local flood-loss estimate, and automatically run the hydraulic model during a flood event to provide the maps and flood-damage information through a Web graphical user interface.

A library of static digital flood-inundation maps was created by means of a calibrated two-dimensional hydraulic model. Estimated water-surface elevations were developed for a range of river stages referenced to a USGS streamgage and NWS flood forecast point colocated within the study reach. These maps were made available through the Internet in several formats, including geographic information system, Keyhole Markup Language, and Portable Document Format.

A flood-loss estimate was completed for part of the study reach by using one of the flood-inundation maps from the static library. The Federal Emergency Management Agency natural disaster-loss estimation program HAZUS-MH, in conjunction with local building information, was used to complete a level 2 analysis of flood-loss estimation.

A Service-Oriented Architecture-based dynamic flood-inundation application was developed and was designed to start automatically during a flood, obtain near real-time and forecast data (from the colocated USGS streamgage and NWS flood forecast point within the study reach), run the two-dimensional hydraulic model, and produce flood-inundation maps. The application used local building data and depth-damage curves to estimate flood losses based on the maps, and it served inundation maps and flood-loss estimates through a Web-based graphical user interface.

Revised March 7, 2012

First posted November 22, 2011

For additional information contact:
Director, Indiana Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
5957 Lakeside Boulevard
Indianapolis, Indiana 46278–1996

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Kim, M.H., Morlock, S.E., Arihood, L.D., and Kiesler, J.L., 2011, Observed and forecast flood-inundation mapping application—A pilot study of an eleven-mile reach of the White River, Indianapolis, Indiana: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5138, 63 p., 3 appendixes.





Description of Study Area

Development of a Static Flood-Inundation Map Library

Flood-Loss Estimate

Development of a Dynamic Flood Mapping Application

Summary and Conclusions

References Cited


Appendix 1. Static inundation maps for White River at Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana (Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park)

Appendix 2. Static inundation maps for White River near Nora, Indiana

Appendix 3. Examples of metadata for Geographic Information System (GIS) layers used to create maps in appendix 2

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Page Last Modified: Thursday, January 10, 2013, 08:12:47 PM