Developed by T. Endreny at SUNY ESF in the Department of Environmental Resources Engineering
Fluvial Geomorphology
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Data Viewing Exercise

TerraServer Screen shot

Exercise Objective

To become familiar with publicly available images of rivers and their flood plains.

Exercise Process

  1. Use the TerraServer website to find a Reach of river that interests you, such as in River Forecasting Center work, and view that Reach using Aerial Photos and Topographic Maps. The website is located at http://terraserver.microsoft.com/. We recommend that you use the Advanced Find tab and then the Place option to locate your river, however you can use other methods as well. The Place option is in this TerraServer form, and it is here that you provide the river or town name and state.
  2. Once your site is located, click on either the Aerial Photo or Topo Map link. Once you have viewed one format, in the left part of the screen, use the Related Links or Navigate drop down menu to view the other format.
  3. TerraServer provides pattern or planform images that relate directly to first order FGM analysis. Note how the aerial photo does not provide any information on river dimension or profile, while the topographic map provides Elevation contours allowing a rough plot of those other FGM views. Note how the topographic image shows the river in blue, and the surrounding Floodplain in green, white, or other colors. Note how Elevation contours are in brown, and roads or other infrastructure in black. Note how grays are used in the aerial photo, with a darker shade used for the river. Note how geometric patterns can be used to separate land use types. Lastly, note the date on the topographic map and aerial photo to discern if either is more current than the other.
  4. Click on the TerraServer Download Menu Button while viewing either the topographic map or aerial photo. The linked TerraServer screen demonstrates how to download your image. We will not need to use the image, so your download is optional. Both aerial and topographic images will be used in later FGM Module sections.
  5. For the enterprising student, you are welcome to later return to TerraServer and perform more advanced FGM analysis.

Image courtesy of TerraServer

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