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Evaluation of River Network Generalization Methods for Preserving the Drainage Pattern

1,2,3,* and 4
Key Lab of Virtual Geographic Environment, Nanjing Normal University, Ministry of Education, Nanjing 210023, China
State Key Laboratory Cultivation Base of Geographical Environment Evolution, Nanjing 210023, China
Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
Dept. of Geomatic Sciences, Laval University, Quebec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Strobl Josef and Wolfgang Kainz
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5(12), 230;
Received: 24 August 2016 / Revised: 17 November 2016 / Accepted: 23 November 2016 / Published: 6 December 2016
PDF [7154 KB, uploaded 6 December 2016]


The drainage pattern of a river network is the arrangement in which a stream erodes the channels of its network of tributaries. It can reflect the geographical characteristics of a river network to a certain extent because it depends on the topography and geology of the land and as such should be considered during the river network generalization process. There are many methods for river network generalization in tributary selection but most do not explicitly consider the network pattern. Validation of the generalized result is performed visually by an expert and may not be done systematically. An automatic validation technique may help to better understand the results obtained with each method and check whether the pattern has been preserved. This paper proposes an approach to evaluate the quality of a generalized river network by assessing how well its original drainage pattern is preserved. The membership to a drainage pattern is evaluated by a set of geometric indicators, making use of a fuzzy logic approach which allows for a compromise between different criteria depending on the membership values. Three tributary selection methods are tested in this work: selection by stroke and length, catchment area, and a manually generalized network. Assessing the quality of a generalization is done by comparing pattern memberships before and after generalization. This research provides a quantitative indicator to assess the generalized river network in preserving geographical information. View Full-Text
Keywords: drainage pattern; river network; generalization; evaluation drainage pattern; river network; generalization; evaluation

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Zhang, L.; Guilbert, E. Evaluation of River Network Generalization Methods for Preserving the Drainage Pattern. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5, 230.

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