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Case Study:
3D Visualisation of Flooding in the Peace Athabasca Delta (PAD)

GeoSolutions Consulting supported Parks Canada and Environment Canada in the visualization of flood events within the Peace-Athabasca Delta. Using data from a flood in 1990 and an elevation model, a time lapse 3-D animation was generated to simulate the Delta's flooding environment. Hydrological data from a 1-D model was input into a GIS and combined with a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) to determine flood levels at specified time intervals. Using GIS analysis tools, the extent of flooding was determined for each time interval and the results transferred to an animation file. The GIS analysis and data preparation utilized various GIS products: MapInfo, Vertical Mapper and SPANS.


To visualize in 3D the rise and fall of flood waters in the Peace - Athabasca Delta.

Data Used:

  • Locations of the Hydrological Model Reaches (sections of river system)
  • Water elevations for each reach section over a two month period
  • Elevation Model
  • National Topographic Base mapping was used to determine reach area extents.


Data Conversion

A MapInfo GIS database was created. Using the National Topographic Base Mapping the areal extent of each reach was derived and stored in the database.

SPANS GIS was used to convert the Reach areas into a square grid of points with its associated Reach ID. As well, elevation data was converted into the same regular grid and then exported to the MapInfo database.

Using MapInfo's database tools the water level data for each time interval was attached to each reach grid point.


Vertical Mapper was the tool chosen to develop the time series flood extent analysis. Vertical Mapper Point to Grid (GRD) utility was used to create an intelligent raster grid for each time interval. By comparing the water levels to that of the land elevation, flood extent was derived. The results were contoured and converted back to MapInfo region files.

The resulting animation was generated through the display of each time interval using Vertical Mapper's 3D Grid Viewer. Each view was compiled into an animation to graphically display the flooding environment over time.

Water System Nodes(Yellow) and Paths(Red), Reach Areas(Black Lines), Water Bodies(Blue Areas, Lines)


Water Elevation(Red to Blue), Reach Areas(Black Lines), Water Bodies(Blue Dots, Lines)


Water Levels at 3 time steps
The light blue is the NTS water layer (assumed always there)
The dark blue is the flooding area

Flood Simulation
Download the following zip file.
Extract the contents to a temporary folder.
Double click on "flood.exe" to run the simulation