Leveraging the power of GIS

Geographic information systems (GIS) technology is a powerful tool for communities because it puts them in control of their own information. It’s interactive, so civic leaders can connect data pieces and create their own layers of current information quickly and efficiently.

Integrating outside software with GIS technology creates some very powerful results. A great example is a water resource engineer who reviews floodplain models. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center produces HEC-RAS, software widely used for river and floodplain modeling. While HEC-RAS and its companion software, HEC-GeoRAS, allow for mapping of floodplains through GIS, it does not provide a means for visual representation of certain models.

Of particular concern are models with unsteady, or variable, flows which are increasingly needed to analyze the floodplain. This gap in the market prompted Moore Engineering to develop a data mining script to extract spatial and flow data from the HEC-RAS model and plot it in GIS. Manually obtaining this data used to be very labor intensive, and took days to complete. Moore’s process is more powerful and elaborate, and can be accomplished in a fraction of the time. It has become a very valuable tool throughout the review of floodplain models.

Two of Moore Engineering’s GIS specialists, Kyle Volk and Tom Sayward, are eager to share what they’ve developed at two upcoming GIS conferences. The North Dakota GIS Users Conference is set for Monday, Sept. 28, in Fargo, while the Minnesota GIS/LIS Conference is Oct. 7-9, in Duluth.

Kyle and Tom’s in-depth presentation, “Floodplain Models: A streamlined review through data and mining visualization,” will detail their work.

Kyle will provide an overview of the modeling and output of the software. He graduated from NDSU in 2005 and has been a civil engineer at Moore Engineering for 10 years. He’s the GIS coordinator for the company, and his experience includes analysis and design of flood control projects, GIS applications in water resources and GIS assessment analysis. Kyle enjoys camping with his wife and two kids, and has a salt water aquarium.

Tom will speak on the code behind the program and the processing of data from HEC-RAS to GIS. He is pursuing a master’s degree in software engineering from North Dakota State University, and has been a GIS programmer for Moore Engineering for nearly three years. In addition to programing, he enjoys bee keeping, martial arts and learning Mandarin Chinese.

We hope to see you in Fargo or Duluth!

If neither of those works for you, call 701-282-4692 for more information or send us a note and we’ll get back to you.