Hydrologic Engineering Center and ESRI Sign Cooperative Research and Development Agreement

Hydrologic Engineering Center and ESRI Sign Cooperative Research and Development Agreement


April 3, 2007 -- Redlands, California—The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Hydrologic Engineering Center and ESRI will cooperate on developing a new generation of geographic information system (GIS) technology for hydrologic engineering and ecological analysis.

The Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC), based in Davis, California, and ESRI, the leading GIS software developer, announced today the signing of a three-year cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) that will focus on

  • Adding a geospatial analysis component to HEC's software that analyzes how an ecosystem (i.e., plants, animals, and soil) reacts to water flow
  • Developing terrain models and terrain representation for hydrologic and hydraulic analyses
  • Publishing HEC's modeling techniques with ArcGIS Server

"Management of water resources is one of the most critical issues facing society today," said ESRI president Jack Dangermond. "HEC is looked up to as the leader in water resources modeling and analysis. ESRI is pleased that we can support its work to understand and model this critical resource."

HEC designed a successful family of hydrologic software including the River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) for modeling the hydraulics of water flow through channels and the Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS) for simulating precipitation and runoff in watersheds. In cooperation with ESRI over the past six years, HEC has added geospatial components—HEC-GeoRAS and HEC-GeoHMS—to the software. This successful application has enabled spatial and temporal processing and visualization of water flow.

One complex problem HEC is working on is analyzing water's impact on ecosystems and land-use activities. ESRI and HEC plan to work together to

  • Develop an ArcGIS application for HEC's new Ecosystem Functions Model (EFM). EFM analyzes responses of the ecosystem to changes in water flow. GIS software will provide the spatial analysis, visually illustrating and quantifying the effects of flow changes on habitats within the watershed. This application will take advantage of the new capabilities of ESRI's ArcGIS 9.2, including managing large terrains, and the geoprocessing capabilities of ModelBuilder technology.
  • Publish HEC's hydrological and ecosystems modeling technology, with GIS data, in ArcGIS Server, opening opportunities to share the technology with many different agencies, natural resource managers, and the public. Users of the systems will then be able to build and run their own hydrologic models.
  • Implement models that use terrains, a new data type in ArcGIS 9.2 that permits the analysis of large, complex surface models—something that was not possible previously.
  • Explore the possibility of cooperating in areas such as geographic data structures for water resources modeling and analysis, flood damage analysis, and spatial hydrologic data products.

Dean Djokic, a senior applications programmer and consultant in water resources and principal investigator for CRADA at ESRI, said he expects the collaboration between ESRI and HEC will profoundly improve hydrologic and ecological modeling in the future.

"ESRI believes this cooperative agreement will result in the next generation of water resources tools to help handle the complex problems of environmental hydrologic analysis," Djokic said. "[This work] will advance the science of water resources engineering."

The staff at HEC looks forward to continuing to work closely with ESRI. "There's a natural connection between hydrologic simulation modeling and GIS," added Tom Evans, HEC's principal investigator on CRADA. "Through our partnership with ESRI, HEC and the Corps have been able to provide GIS tools that the engineers in our field use every day. I look forward to improvements in those programs and working on entirely new ones, like the ArcGIS developments that will support our Ecosystem Functions Model."

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About HEC
HEC is part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Institute for Water Resources and supports the nation in its water resources management responsibilities by increasing the Corps' technical capability in hydrologic engineering and water resources planning and management. By means of programs in research, training, planning analysis, and technical assistance, HEC keeps abreast of both the evolving water analysis needs of the Corps and the nation and current developments in the professions of hydrology, hydraulics, and water resources engineering. The center strives to use this information to enhance the effectiveness of the Corps and the profession by bridging the gap between academic researchers, practicing hydrologic engineers, and planning professionals. HEC incorporates state-of-the-art procedures and techniques into manuals and comprehensive computer programs. Most of these products are available to the Corps and professionals in the United States and the world online and through technical assistance, publications, videotapes, and training.

Press Information:
Carla Wheeler, ESRI
Tel.: 909-793-2853, extension 1-2448
E-mail (press only): Email Contact
General Information: Email Contact

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