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Multi-Mission Flood Mapper: A Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Data Based Tool for Rapid Disaster Response
  • Sai Kiran Kuntla,
  • Panchagnula Manjusree
Sai Kiran Kuntla
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

Corresponding Author:kuntlasaikiran@gmail.com

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Panchagnula Manjusree
National Remote Sensing Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), National Remote Sensing Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
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Floods are convincingly the most frequent and widespread natural hazard across the world. With an ample amount of literature forecasting increase in its frequency and magnitude further in the future, highly credible and efficient algorithms and tools are crucial for real-time flood monitoring. In this study, a highly efficient tool, Multi-Mission Flood Mapper, has been developed to delineate flood inundation extent without any human intervention from SAR images captured by multiple microwave SAR satellite missions, including ALOS PALSAR CEOS, ALOS 2 CEOS, COSMO-SkyMed, ENVISAT ASAR, ERS 1/2 CEOS, ERS 1/2 SAR(.E1, .E2), ICEYE, JERS CEOS, KOMPSAT-5, PAZ, RADARSAT-1 & -2, RCM, SAOCOM, SeaSat, Sentinel-1, TerraSAR-X, and TanDEM-X. The efficacy of the developed tool is assessed by performing a test on a significant number of flood events in India having diverse flooding patterns and landforms. To manifest the performance of the tool, the step-by-step processing at the backend of the tool is discussed in detail in this study by taking a flood event along the Ganga River in India as a case study. The algorithm of the tool includes various processing steps: pre-processing that incorporate applying orbit file, calibrate to sigma naught, speckle filtering, terrain correction and linear to decibel conversion; thematic analysis that involves multi-segmentation and Otsu’s thresholding techniques; post-processing that consists of the elimination of hill shadows, applying majority filter, and masking out permanent water bodies. Thus derived flood inundation layer is observed to be highly accurate compared to the master image. The total time taken by the tool for processing is about 4 minutes for the given image. The developed tool would be beneficial for rapid flood inundation map generation on a timely basis for flood monitoring and relief management during a disaster. In addition, the flood inundation layers can also be used for calibration/validation of hydrological/hydraulic models, geospatial planning, and generating flood hazard maps. Also, the Multi-Mission Flood Mapper tool is facilitated with a user-friendly Graphical User Interface (GUI), making it look simple and easy to use.