Development Churchill River Flood Forecasting System

4DM as part of consortium with KGS Group and Global Institute of Water Security was awarded a project on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to conduct a flood risk assessment and forecasting system. 4DM’s role in the project is to conduct land cover mapping using remote sensing and implement the flood forecasting system using the HydrologiX platform. In this project, 4DM designed and developed an automated web-based forecasting system for predicting hydrological flows, ice formation and ice breakup. Key elements of the development included the integration of hydrometeorological data feeds, tidal data, ice measurements, developing a hydrological model runner (HEC-HMS), a hydraulic ice model runner (RIVICE), as well as open water hydraulic model (HEC-RAS) to generate a daily 3-day water level forecast along the lower Churchill River.

The remote sensing work involved using Sentinel-2 data with supervised training machine learning approach to conduct the land classification and convert the data to Curve Numbers for hydrological Modeling. Data used in the project was Atmospherically corrected using Sen2Cor and mosaic into block regions for classification using Support Vector Machine (SVM).

Applying Artificial Intelligence for Surface Object Mapping Using Satelite Imagery

4DM has been awarded a major initiative to advance feature extraction technology using Artificial Intelligence for Surface Object Mapping using satellite imagery

Snowdrift Model and Mitigation for Highway 7 West of Carleton Place

4DM was subcontracted by the IBI Group on behalf of Ontario Ministry of Transportation to provide meteorological, snowdrift modeling and mitigation analysis to assess the severity of snow transport across section of Highway 7 near Carleton Place. 2D snow transport modeling was conducted based on return period and mitigation modeling assessed the snow fence requirements based on snow flux. The modeling considers the size, setup back, porosity, height and orientation. Oblique snow fencing was installed as outcome of the project.

Applying Satellite Techology for Maritime Domain Awarness

4DM as part of team lead by SSCL was awarded Canadian Space Agency – EOADP to investigate the value of space base earth observation data to provide persistent Maritime Domain Awareness. The project will include real time acquisition of optical (Dove, SkySat) and radar (RADARSAT-2) data with predictive modeling in areas of interest off west coast of Canada. 4DM will use patent pending technology to uniquely identify vessels, extracted vessel attributes and determine motion. Machine learning approach will be implemented to extract surface object characteristics. Information will be integrated into a predictive modeling tool called Timecaster developed by Maerospace for identify and validating the track of vessels with AIS data and “dark targets”. Goal is to demonstrate how the technologies can be applied to meet operational needs

Improve Hydrological Forecast Model

4DM has recently completed a project on assessing and improving performance of the Mattagami River Watershed Model (MRWM). The MRWM, developed by 4DM for Ontario Power Generation, is a WATFLOOD-based hydrological model which is designed to serve for (1) operational flow forecasting, implemented as part of the HydrologiX II web-based decision support system, and (2) water balance, climate impacts and water availability studies in the Mattagami River basin.

The project focused on advanced calibration and validation of the MRWM, incorporation of the Canadian Precipitation Analysis (CaPA) data, and robust automated model calibration using the OSTRICH optimization engine. As part of the optimization, we performed single objective calibration for streamflow, as well as two-objective model calibration for (a) streamflow (12 gauges) and (b) reservoir inflow (6 gauges) using a Pareto-based algorithm. Figure 1 and Figure 2 present examples of optimization results.

The calibrated model was able to achieve the average Nash-Sutcliffe model efficiency of 0.84 for streamflow (0.64 – 0.95 at individual gauges), and 0.77 for reservoir inflow (0.66 – 0.93 at individual gauges) over the 2002-2016 period.

The optimized MRWM is currently being deployed to the HydrologiX II system for use in operational flow and inflow forecasting. HydrologiX II has been utilized in the Mattagami River basin since 2014 for providing fully automated daily flow and inflow forecasts, situational awareness, monitoring, notification and data dissemination services.

4DM Conducts Visual Simulation Project

4DM has been awarded a visual simulation assessment project as subconsultant  to ARCADIS Canada. The simulation is part of Environmental Assessment on a structural change to hydro-electric transmission corridor. The outcome will be used to provide the public visual perspective of the changes to the transmission corridor for consultation.

4DM provides LiDAR expertise to Dam Safety Review

4DM as subconsultant to Sanchez Engineering was award the Palgrave Dam Safety Review for Toronto Region Conservation Authority. 4DM’s role will be to conduct terrestrial LiDAR and integrated with airborne LiDAR data to support structural, geotechnical and hydrotechnical analysis. Our team will support hydrology analysis and inundation mapping

4DM completes project to develop algorithms for near – real time flood extent and depth from RADARSAT-2 and LiDAR

4DM, in collaboration with C-Core, recently completed a project on the development of algorithms and software tools to support near real-time mapping of flooding, commissioned by Natural Resources Canada’s Emergency Geomatics Services (EGS). The objectives of the project were to (1) improve the accuracy of flood extent mapping by complementing an existing EGS open-water detection algorithm with specialized approaches for vegetated and urban areas and a GIS-based conflation post-processing, and (2) enable calculation of flood depth within the inundated area.

Within the scope of this project 4DM has developed an algorithm and a software toolset for performing conflation post-processing of remotely-sensed flood extent areas (open-water only, as well as combined with specialized vegetated/urban algorithms) to ensure the hydrologic validity of the resulting flood extent, and for determination of flood depth. 4DM also conducted research for the urban flood detection algorithm.

Preliminary results from the Richelieu and Red rivers indicate that the conflation post-processor significantly improves the accuracy of flood extent mapping in comparison to the existing open-water algorithm in areas where the flow pattern is primarily 1-D (well defined valleys) and high-resolution DEM is available. The approach currently does not perform as well in flat terrain where flow patterns are more 2-D in nature and/or DEM quality is lower.

4DM awarded contract for the development of a National Guide on the Acquistion of Airborne LiDAR Data

We are pleased to announce that 4DM has been contracted to coordinate the development of a National Guide on the Acquisition of Airborne LiDAR Data. Airborne LiDAR has become or is becoming a primary source of elevation data for applications in flood risk mapping, infrastructure mapping, forestry, and for assembling nationwide topographic dataset across Canada. Over the years various LiDAR actors in Canada have developed their own standards and specifications for data acquisition. The absence of common national guidelines often leads to lack of uniformity in collected data, which becomes especially apparent when integrating data across jurisdictions or projects.

The goal of the project, awarded by the Canadian Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO) of Natural Resources Canada, is to update, revise and finalize the current draft National Guidelines by leveraging the standards, specifications, guidelines and best practices for acquisition of airborne LiDAR data available in Canada and internationally. Our vision for developing the LiDAR guidelines is to provide a primary reference source for governments, commercial organizations, NGOs and researchers involved in the planning, acquisition, and use of airborne LiDAR data, thus facilitating a more harmonized and standardized approach for acquiring LiDAR datasets across the country. It is envisioned that the Guidelines will contain common industry-neutral specifications, while considering unique requirements for different vertical application areas, such as forestry, floodplain or coastal zone mapping.

Key to the development of guidelines will be the input of the LiDAR user community across the country. As part of this project we plan to engage experts, decision makers, data providers and users in a manner that is inclusive and collaborative, in order to gather input for and shape the content of the guidelines. This collaboration will be achieved through several means, including: engaging the provincial and territorial governments on their current specifications, best practices and requirements; conducting a National Meeting in Ottawa in January of 2017 with the LiDAR user community to present findings and propose direction for the new guidelines; and soliciting user comments on the draft guidelines.

4DM developing innovative river flow forecasting system for northern environments

A “made in Canada” solution is at hand for monitoring reservoir inflows, forecasting changing river conditions and, potentially, predicting floods in northern environments. 4DM Inc. is developing a web-based system to provide water managers with a tool for forecasting river flows.

Co-funded by LOOKNorth, a Canadian national Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research that fosters remote sensing innovation to support responsible development of northern resources, 4DM is conducting a project to bring together, within a turnkey system, satellite remote sensing data for snowpack information, numerical weather prediction data and in-situ sensor data as input for a distributed hydrological model (WATFLOOD). The hydrological model, WATFLOOD, was developed by the University of Waterloo and is currently used by Environment Canada, Manitoba Hydro, Ontario Power Generation, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and others in water resources sector. The process is being automated within a technology environment as an information service to decision makers involved in water management and analysis.

The project scope includes research, design, development, testing and implementation of the system within a Northern Ontario watershed. The system, HydrologiX II, will provide a five-day forecast for water managers on a daily basis. Initially created as a data service to support scheduling of operations for hydroelectric production, HydrologiX II can be used as an information source for water budgeting, environmental flow analysis, climate change monitoring and flood risk analysis for both gauged and ungauged watersheds. The system improves on current technology through automation, by providing easy access to information through web services and by incorporating information on current and future watershed conditions. HydrologiX II will enable better management of flows and levels along river systems, particularly at times of high inflow such as spring thaw, and will improve situation awareness of changing river conditions.

HydrologiX II is expected to be operational by June 2014, with operational beta-testing and ongoing enhancements continuing throughout the year.