February 16, 2012 -- At a flooding conference in the Danish Parliament on February 3 the Danish Minister for the Environment launched a new nation-wide online interactive tool that maps the risk of flooding in Denmark due to rising sea-levels. The tool visualizes the flooded area for a (user-) given sea-level rise, and is part of the national climate change adaptation portal (klimatilpasning.dk/en-us) available to government specialist, as well as ordinary citizens. It is made possible by a computation performed by SCALGO on a very accurate 1.6 meter resolution raster terrain model for the entire country of Denmark. The detailed and thus massive model contains more than 20 billion cells. It was vital for the accuracy of the sea-level rise flooding tool that such a high quality model was used, since it ensured that dikes and other important features with small spatial extent were taken into account.
The SCALGO technology for processing massive terrain data on normal desktop computers was essential for the computation behind the sea-level rise flooding tool. Using the SCALGO Hydrology software package the computation can be performed on the entire model of Denmark (without thinning or tiling) in approximately a day and a half on a normal desktop computer with 4GB of main memory. Apart from a module for the sea-level rise flood mapping, the package also includes modules for computing flow accumulation, watersheds, and bluespots (maximal depressions). SCALGO also offers more advanced hydrological analysis computation services using in-house software, including the SCALGO Flash Flood Mapping product, which estimates the risk of flooding during extreme rain events. The mapping shows how much rain has to fall before any given cell of a detailed raster terrain is below water, and thus it also shows what part of the terrain is below water after a given amount of rain.
Information about SCALGO technology, products and services can be found at
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Scalable Algorithmics (SCALGO) was founded in 2009 with the mission to bring cutting-edge massive terrain data processing technology to market. The SCALGO technology is based on more than two decades of basic and applied research on I/O-efficient and geometric algorithms at Center for Massive Data Algorithmics (MADALGO) at Aarhus University in Denmark and at Duke University in the US, in collaboration with industry LiDAR and environmental GIS application experts. Software based on the technology can handle much larger terrain data sets on a normal desktop than most current software and thus it eliminates the need for accuracy-decreasing data thinning. The use of novel mathematical and algorithmic techniques also means that the software works provably efficient on all input data sets, delivering a completely specified output without the use of cumbersome work-flows such as those introduced by data tiling.