River basin delineation based on NASA digital elevation data

River basin delineation based on NASA digital elevation data

River basins (known as watersheds in North America) are areas of land that drain precipitation, surface water, and underlying groundwater into a river and its tributaries, eventually reaching a common outlet such as a lake, reservoir, river, or estuary. The drainage pattern is from smaller sub-basin to larger sub-basin, and from higher elevation to lower elevation. Land surface processes, precipitation, storm water, and wastewater runoff within basins have substantial impact on quantity and quality of the water draining into tributaries. Surface topography and elevation generally determine boundaries or drainage divides between sub-basins. Delineation is crucial for assessing the contribution to water quantity and quality in the river system, and for planning better land and water management practices.

This lightning-style webinar will focus on describing NASA digital elevation data and its application in deriving river basin information by using Hydrological data and maps based on SHuttle Elevation Derivatives at multiple Scales (HydroSHEDS) database. Exercises with instructions for river basin delineation using HydroSHEDS will be provided.


Learning Objectives: By the end of this training, attendees will be able to:

  • Delineate a river sub-basin
  • Determine flow direction in the area of their interest using HydroSHEDS

This session will cover the Overview of NASA Digital Elevation Data and Demonstration of HydroSHEDS for river basin delineation.


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This training was created by NASA’s Applied Remote Sensing Training Program (ARSET). ARSET is a part of NASA’s Applied Science’s Capacity Building Program. Learn more about ARSET: