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Journal of Hydrology 371 (2009) 169–181

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Journal of Hydrology
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Effect of spatial trends on interpolation of river bathymetry
Venkatesh Merwade *
School of Civil Engineering, 550 Stadium Mall Drive, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, United States

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 14 October 2008
Received in revised form 18 March 2009
Accepted 25 March 2009

This manuscript was handled by G. Syme,
Editor-in-Chief, with the assistance of Paul
Jeffrey, Associate Editor
River channels
Spatial trend
River modeling

s u m m a r y
Continuous surface of river bathymetry (bed topography) is typically produced by spatial interpolation of
discrete point or cross-section data. Several interpolation methods that do not account for spatial trend in
river bathymetry produce inaccurate surfaces, thus requiring complex interpolation methods such as
anisotropic kriging. Although isotropic methods are unsuitable for interpolating river bathymetry, issues
that limit their use remain unaddressed. This paper addresses the issue of effect of spatial trend in river
bathymetry on isotropic interpolation methods. It is hypothesized that if the trend is removed from the
data before interpolation, the results from isotropic methods should be comparable with anisotropic
methods. Data from six river reaches in the United States are used to: (i) interpolate bathymetry data
using seven spatial interpolation methods; (ii) separate trend from bathymetry; (iii) interpolate residuals
(bathymetry minus trend) by using all seven interpolation methods to get residual surfaces, (iv) add the
trend back to residual surfaces; and (v) compare resulting surfaces from (iv) with surfaces created in (i).
Quantitative and qualitative comparison of results through root mean square error (RMSE), semi-variograms, and cross-section profiles show that significant improvement (as much as 60% in RMSE) can be
accomplished in spatial interpolation of river bathymetry by separating trend from the data. Although
this paper provides a new simple way for interpolating river bathymetry by using (otherwise deemed
inappropriate) isotropic methods, the choice of trend function and spatial arrangement of discrete
bathymetry data play a vital role in successful implementation of the proposed approach.
Ó 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

River bathymetry (bed topography) plays a critical role in
numerical modeling of flow hydrodynamics, sediment transport,
ecological and geomorphologic assessments. Conventional way of
measuring river bathymetry is through cross-sectional surveys
where ground profiles are collected at certain locations along the
river depending on available resources, river morphology and end
use of the data. A recent technological development in bathymetry
measurement includes the use of boat-mounted SONAR (Sound
Navigation And Ranging) devices such as single or multi-beam
echosounder in conjunction with global positioning system (GPS)
to give a series of (x, y, z) bathymetry points (Vermeyen, 2006;
Rogala, 1999). Although the spatial resolution of bathymetry points
collected through echosounding techniques can be much better
compared to cross-sections, these data still represent a discrete
sample of a continuous bathymetric surface. Continuous mapping
of shallow river bathymetry over large areas through air-borne
techniques is also an active area of research these days (Hilldale
and Raff, 2008; Legleiter et al., 2004; Marcus et al., 2003), but for
deeper rivers discrete field data are still the best way for creating
* Tel.: +1 765 494 2176; fax: +1 765 494 0395.
E-mail address:
0022-1694/$ - see front matter Ó 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

accurate bathymetric surfaces (e.g., Lampe and Morlock, 2007;
White and Hodges, 2005).
Traditional approach to studying flow, sediment, and aquatic
habitat in river channels is through one-dimensional models that
take bathymetric information in the form of cross-sections (e.g.,
Gard, 2005; Lee et al., 2006; Martin, 2003; Torizzo and Pitlick,
2004; Yang et al., 2006). Although the normal flow in rivers can
be assumed to be one-dimensional in the main channel, this
assumption becomes invalid during high floods, thus necessitating
the use of 2D/3D hydrodynamic models (e.g., Carrivick, 2006;
Dutta et al., 2007; Tayefi et al., 2007). Similarly fish habitat are
increasingly being related to three-dimensional nature of river
hydraulics, thus requiring 2D/3D models for ecological assessment
(e.g., Booker, 2003; de Jalon and Gortazar, 2007; Mouton et al.,
2007; Shen and Diplas, 2008). Multi-dimensional models are also
becoming popular in sediment transport and geomorphology
(e.g., Khosronejad et al., 2007; Mekonnen and Dargahi, 2007; Yue
et al., 2008). Although much progress has been made in representation and simulation of river processes in 2D/3D, successful application of these models is directly linked to accurate bathymetric
representation (Buttner, 2007; Crowder and Diplas, 2000; Horritt
et al., 2006; Lane et al., 2002). Bathymetry data are incorporated
into 2D/3D models by interpolating observed discrete data (points
or cross-sections) to get elevations at model nodes (e.g., nodes of a

(e) Sulphur (S) River. 2002). 2001.. ways to improve the results from application of simple isotropic methods for interpolating river bathymetry remain unexplored. 1. whereas data for Kentucky and Ohio reaches were provided by North Carolina Water Science Center (NCWSC). inverse distance weighting (IDW). yield inaccurate river bathymetric surface (Goff and Nordfjord. Rainwater and Sulphur) are located in Texas. the present study explores this topic for river channels. 2006.. (c) King Ranch (KR) reach of Guadalupe River. anisotropic IDW by Tomczak. Bathymetry dataset for: (a) Brazos (B) River. Petersen et al. (d) Rainwater (R) reach of Guadalupe River. 2008. 1998). which assume isotropy in data. The isotropic assumption in most spatial interpolation methods ignores the trend in river bathymetry that is linear (bed slope) in flow direction and nonlinear (cross-sectional shape) across flow direction. Such a study can: (a) potentially overcome the limitations of isotropic methods. thus making them widely applicable for interpolating river bathymetry.. Fig.g.. 2008). Although the topic of spatial trends and anisotropy has received considerable attention in the field of soil science and groundwater hydrology (e. the accuracy of bathymetric surfaces represented in 2D/3D models is dependent upon the ability of interpolation methods in making accurate predictions at unmeasured locations using discrete data.170 V. Crawford and Hergert.g. and (f) Kentucky River (K).. names of all other reaches reflect the names of corresponding rivers. compared to isotropic methods if the trend is excluded from river bathymetry. Specifically the effect of separating existing trends in river bathymetry before interpolating discrete points is not studied. 2006). Pfannkuch and Winter. 2004. (b) demonstrate the effect of trend on interpolating river bathymetry. King Ranch. such as anisotropic kriging. Recent studies have shown that commonly available interpolation methods such as triangulation. Except for King Ranch and Rainwater which are located along the Guadalupe River in Texas. and (c) provide information on accuracy that can be gained by using complex interpolation methods. 1997. and two (Kentucky and Ohio) are located in Kentucky. Merwade / Journal of Hydrology 371 (2009) 169–181 finite element mesh). Study areas and datasets Bathymetry data collected at six river reaches in the United States are used in this study (Fig. Additional constraints imposed by river flow direction and topographic trend limit the choice of methods available for interpolating river bathymetry to only a few specialized ones such as anisotropic kriging. This paper addresses the issue of effect of bathymetry trend by presenting results from a study that involved interpolation of discrete bathymetry point dataset – with and without removal of trend – at six river reaches in the United States. methods that account for river flow direction and topographic trend are recommended for interpolating discrete bathymetry data. thus providing a new way of interpolating river bathymetry using simple isotropic methods in the absence of specialized complex techniques. or custom modifications of existing isotropic methods (e. four (Brazos. elliptical IDW by Merwade et al. Although anisotropic methods provide better results compared to isotropic methods. splines or kriging. 1a). Of these six reaches. Merwade et al. 1984). . Therefore. (b) Ohio (O) River. Data for Texas Rivers were provided by Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). As a result. Data for Texas Rivers were collected for Instream Flow Program (TWDB. and data for Ohio and Kentucky were collected for water quality and sediment transport studies (Wagner and Mueller.

Local techniques include cubic polynomial and a combination of two beta pdf (Eq. For example. looking downstream. Dev.64 1. Typically.3 150. these modified data are taken as actual measurements. A detailed review of these techniques including their application in fitting river cross-sections can be found in Merwade and Maidment (2004).4 7. Key tasks in the methodology are described below. To assess the effect of trend function in spatial interpolation.171 V. all GPS recordings are corrected through differential GPS (DGPS) to give more accurate (x. n) coordinates makes the linear trend (bed slope) a function of s coordinate.02 0. Several techniques such as power functions.. 1996.42 143. three techniques (two local and one global) are employed in this study. y) location of each ping. Different approaches are used in creating testing and validation datasets for each study area depending on the configuration of the available data. n) coordinates for all six reaches.2 30 105 42 44 33 106 465 3. the geometric centerline of the channel is treated as the s-axis with upstream end of the river as its origin (s = 0). Legleiter and Kyriakidis.. In the case of King Ranch. (m) 7. Rainwater.66 140.96 146. River name Brazos King Ranch Rainwater Sulphur Kentucky Ohio River characteristics Bathymetry data Length (km) Mean width (m)+ Mean depth (m) Slope Substrate type Total points Points/50  50 m2 area Mean (m) Std.8 72. In the case of Kentucky River. In the case of Brazos River. alternate cross-sections are selected for validation. In this study. 1. Johannesson and Parker.g. Data for Sulphur and Ohio reach were modified by TWDB and NSWSC. and vice versa.11 106. depth sounders ping multiple signals at one point. (1)). testing and validation datasets are used from a previous study by Merwade et al. validation points are extracted through random selection. the testing and validation datasets are split to have 50% points each (alternate crosssections). channel-fitted coordinate system defined by an s-axis along the flow direction and n-axis across the flow direction (perpendicular to s-axis) is widely used for rivers (e. (2006).11 141. all n coordinates are negative on the left hand side of s-axis. For Kentucky River.001 Sandy Gravel/bedrock Gravel/bedrock Silty/Sandy clay Gravel/bedrock Cohesive/noncohesive sediment 37288 7602 14955 7732 66682 20554 116 274 243 407 224 4 10. and the global technique includes a cubic polynomial function. z) points collected using a single-beam echosounder and global positioning system (GPS) mounted on a boat. Morphologic details at each reach (length. y. but use of these data in this coordinate system can introduce issues related to meandering nature of the channel.81 0.06 142. z) bathymetry points.48 0. Data at these six study sites provide a good representation of different spatial arrangement ranging from traditional cross-sections (Kentucky) to irregular spacing (Brazos. (iii) interpolation of residuals (bathymetry minus trend) by using seven methods to get residual surfaces. width.45 Data at each reach include bathymetry (x . slope) including information on bathymetry data are provided in Table 1. respectively to match finite element nodes for a hydrodynamic model. 1997). As the boat moves. depth and meandering curvature (see e. (m) Min. 1989. computing distance between two points along a river using (x. which involved manual separation of bathymetry points to mimic a cross-sectional configuration in the testing dataset.46 1. y) locations. and nonlinear trend (cross-sectional shape) a function of n coordinate.16 1. Ye and McCorquodale.98 4.46 144. and do not reflect the actual arrangement of field data. Bathymetry points in testing datasets are used to create interpolated surfaces. Fitting trend to bathymetry points Mapping of bathymetry in (s.48 76. and (v) comparison of resulting surfaces from (iv) with surfaces created in (i).y. The s-axis can be aligned with either river banks or centerline. n) coordinates straightens the river so data can be treated with respect to the flow direction as shown in Fig.1 1.1 1.85 68.48 2. Water depth at each point is then subtracted from water surface elevation to get z. 2. Besides using the n coordinate. James.03 0. In addition. which had points along cross-sections. Additionally. Testing and validation datasets Each initial bathymetry dataset is split into two sub-sets: testing and validation.. A GIS procedure developed by (Merwade et al.6 3. the nonlinear trend is modeled by using other physical attributes such as channel width. Plotting of river in (s. y) coordinates will not give the actual flow length between these points for a meandering river. splines and probability density function (pdf) can be used to fit a trend to river’s cross-sectional shape. Similarly. Mapping of data in (s. Merwade / Journal of Hydrology 371 (2009) 169–181 Table 1 Summary of data at study reaches (+ obtained by averaging the widths at six equidistant locations along the reach).9 138. Rainwater.8 116. 2008). polynomials. (m) Max. and then average the data to give a single recording at that point. n) coordinate system River bathymetry data are collected and stored using Cartesian (x.g. 1989. (iv) adding the trend back to residual surfaces. (ii) separating trend from bathymetry points by using three trend functions. 2005) is used for mapping bathymetry in (s. Methodology The methodology involves the following steps: (i) interpolation of bathymetry data including trend.99 13. whether a trend function is applied locally (separate function formulations for individual local areas) or globally (one function for the entire reach) can also produce different results. thus creating a series of (x. and eventually variance in residuals (measurements –trend) will depend on the selected trend function. It is assumed that the quality of trend surface.97 1. It is possible that some information was lost during this data transformation for Ohio and Sulphur datasets.43 0.8 111. all datasets except Kentucky River are split such that 70% of bathymetry points are included in testing dataset and 30% in validation dataset.4 1. which are then compared against measured bathymetry in validation datasets.22 7.74 4. y) coordinates. Nelson and Dungan. 1996. The number of measurements and their spatial arrangement depends on the speed and path taken by the boat as shown in Fig. . All geospatial tasks are performed using spatial and geostatistical analyst extensions in ArcGIS from Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). Sulphur. and Ohio River. Overall.04 0. but for the purpose of this study. Deutsch and Wang. the single-beam echosounder measures the water depth (d) by pinging sound signals and the GPS records (x. King Ranch) to regularly spaced gridded data (Sulphur and Ohio). To overcome such issues.25 144.2 1.01 0.08 0.

w is the channel width. but weights are computed based on area. respectively. di = distance between zi and z*. spline with tension (TS). Bathymetry points in: (a) (x. 2004). These are IDW.  TðzÞ ¼ ff ðxja1 . N = total no. bÞ b>0 ð2Þ Cubic polynomial is selected for its simplicity and easy availability in many software programs for fitting spatial trends. ordinary kriging (OK) and ordinary kriging with anisotropy (AK). (5)) between predictions and observations. (2006). Eq. topogrid (TG). ki ¼ RN Tension spline 1 d2 1 i¼1 d2 i RR 2 y 2 2 ðfx2 þ fy2 Þ þ ðfxx þ fxy þ fyy Þdxdy. regularized spline (RS). b1. Assessment of trend surfaces is performed by using percentage of Table 2 Spatial interpolation methods. b1 Þ þ f ðxja2 . c = 0. Merwade / Journal of Hydrology 371 (2009) 169–181 n s -n n s y x (a) (b) Fig. Seven spatial interpolation techniques are used in this study. 2.577215 Third and higher order derivatives are added to I(f) Topogrid A variation of thin plate splines developed by Hutchinson (1989. yÞ. R(r. All parameters in cubic polynomials and beta functions are optimized to minimize the root mean square error (RMSE. zi is measured bathymetry at any point i. and ei ( = zi  T) is corresponding residual after fitting the trend function. 0 < x < 1a > 0.rj) = basis function. For local polynomial trend fitting. and a1. (2006) and Merwade et al. Such an assessment will help to understand how much effect a trend surface can have on final interpolated bathymetry surface (trend + interpolated residual). Regularized spline A minimum curvature (smoothest) function [I(f)] is defined that passes through a set of observations. h   i d/ Rðr. and b2 are the parameters of beta pdf given by Eq.172 V. bÞ ¼ 1 xa1 ð1  xÞb1 . natural neighbor (NN). a circular search neighborhood is defined to include 50 points. of points i z ¼ RN i¼1 ki zi . a2. T(z) is the trend function. The objective is to minimize r2 to get unbiased estimate with minimum variance Ordinary kriging that takes data anisotropy into account r2 ¼ E ðz  ^z Þ2 ¼ E½ z  Rni¼1 ki zi 2  subject to Anisotropic kriging Iðf Þ ¼ R2 ½/ f ðx. r j Þ ¼ 2p1/2 ln 2j þ c þ K 0 ðdj /Þ h RNi¼1 ki zi i ¼1   . and for beta pdf. Bða. Spatial interpolation Spatial interpolation is preformed for each training dataset in (s. A combination of beta pdf is used because comparison of several techniques listed earlier for fitting cross-sectional trend has shown that a combination of two beta pdf produce best results (Merwade and Maidment. Method Description Equations IDW Value at an unsampled location (z*) is distance-weighted average of nearby observations (zi). pi and qi are the Thiessen areas surrounding zi excluding and including z*. (2) f ðxja. k (0 < k < 1) is a scaling factor. All these techniques are commonly used in many disciplines including hydrology through several commercial and public domain software programs. 1993) Natural neighbor Similar to IDW. but weights are assigned based on distance and spatial correlation. Assessment of trend surfaces Trend surfaces are assessed for similarity and their ability to best describe the trend in the data. The neighborhoods for polynomial and beta pdf are defined (by trial and error) such that the points included in a neighborhood should be able to define a complete river cross-section. yÞ ¼ RN i¼1 t i Rðr. n) coordinates. r i Þ þ Tðx. The objective is not to advocate any one technique over others for fitting trends. the neighborhood is defined to include points covering a channel length equal to the average channel width. ki = weight at ith point. R = 2D euclidian space. ð1Þ where. K0 = modified Bessel function of zero order. but a brief description and corresponding equations of each technique are presented in Table 2. y) = local trend. respectively ki ¼ ðpi  qj Þ=pi Ordinary kriging Similar to IDW. n) coordinates for two variables: zi and ei where. T(x. / = tension weight. (s. b2 Þg k w. A review of these techniques for interpolating watershed topography and river bathymetry can be found in Chaplot et al. n) Coordinate transformation for King Ranch dataset. but to see how different techniques affect spatial interpolation results of bathymetry points. y) coordinates and (b) (s.

Merwade / Journal of Hydrology 371 (2009) 169–181 total sum of squares (SST. 3 because the overall interpretation of this figure is applicable to all other datasets. Brazos King Ranch Rainwater Sulphur Kentucky Ohio BT LT GT 82.89 19. if the trend in the bathymetry is captured. For example.05 79. Cross-sections produced by GT at both locations are almost identical. LT and GT are not significantly different for Kentucky. Therefore.95 87.61 90. the mean is not significantly different for all three trend surfaces for many study areas (except for Rainwater) at 95% confidence interval.08 50. (4)) as a function of distance between observation points as shown in Fig. When ei is interpolated. semi-variance increases with distance between measurement points.22 94. (3)). Semi-variogram can be used to compare the spatial distribution of semi-variance captured by different trend and interpolated surfaces. Besides RMSE. Semi-variogram plots of bathymetry and trend surfaces in s-direction have higher range compared to other directions due to smaller variations (or higher correlation) in bathymetry along the flow direction. . R. the resulting surfaces are validated against observed bathymetry in validation datasets. and O = Ohio). R. Results from King Ranch experimental semi-variogram and trend surfaces are consistent with earlier statistical analysis. 5). local polynomial (LT) and global polynomial (GT) trend surfaces for all six reaches (B = Brazos. The results of SST (Table 4) show that the BT and LT capture more than 80% of variance in the measured bathymetry for all datasets.05). Plots of ground profiles at two locations (Fig.75 51. Although these techniques are commonly used for comparing the accuracy of surfaces. In this study. local polynomial (LT) and global polynomial (GT) trend surfaces for all six reaches. and by conducting t-test (a = 0. 2 ð4Þ where cij is the semi-variance between two bathymetry points (zi. quantitative assessments of interpolated surfaces are augmented with visual inspection. A visual comparison of trend surfaces with measured bathymetry (Fig. O B. KR R. Moreover. Overall. Commonly used quantitative methods include precision indices such as mean error. K = Kentucky. until a threshold is reached in the distance of separation. 3) show that the BT surface is better in capturing local variations compared to LT. surfaces are also compared by using SST. The semi-variance corresponding to the range is called the sill. and their corresponding residuals show how the spatial correlation in the bathymetry is affected (Fig. K. RW = Rainwater.85 75. KR R. A visual comparison of overall surfaces and cross-section profiles at individual locations show that BT. beta trend surface will be referred as BT. The smoothness of surface increases from BT to LT to GT. Ohio and Sulphur datasets (Table 3). On the other hand. KR. Overall. fitting of semi-variogram in different directions will show the extent to which the trend in the data is captured by a trend-fitting function. and comparison of experimental semi-variogram plots.77 84.59 44. S. Several methods are available to assess the quality of interpolated surfaces compared to measured bathymetry in validation datasets. KR = King Ranch. whereas BT and LT adjust to fit the trend at individual locations.05). Lower SST for global polynomial trend for all datasets can be attributed to its inability to capture local variations that exist in river bathymetry. GT. It is also important to note that a better trend surface that captures local variations requires more parameters and computing power. Pn 2 ð ðzi  ^zi Þ Þ SST ¼ 1  Pi¼1 .62 significantly different for Brazos. For example. cij ðhÞ ¼ Eððzi  zj Þ2 Þ . ^zi is obtained by adding T(i) to ^ei . local polynomial trend as LT and global polynomial trend as GT. Cross-validation of interpolated surfaces After spatial interpolation of points (zi) in testing dataset. and n is the total number of points in the validation dataset. K. 3a represents the base surface that is created by interpolating all bathymetry points (testing + validation) using anisotropic kriging for comparison. and semi-variance corresponding to zero separation distance on a semi-variogram plot is called the nugget. zj) separated by distance h. 3b–d). Similar to trend surfaces. RMSE (Eq.48 79.46 81. K LT GT K. In spatially correlated data such as river bathymetry. with GT unable to capture any local variations (Fig. LT.173 V. KR.23 80. and vice versa. 5. Results Assessment of trend surfaces To keep the terminology simple. the semivariograms of residuals in all direction should be identical. mean absolute error or the root mean square error (RMSE). ^zi is estimate of zi. S.52 83.82 82. " RMSE ¼ n 1X ðzi  ^zi Þ2 n i¼1 #1=2 . This threshold is called the range as shown in Fig. and ttest (a = 0.15 56. ð5Þ where zi is measurement at ith location. Therefore.05) between beta (BT).41 60. the mean for BT and LT are Table 3 Students t-test results (a = 0. 4) show how BT. they can produce spurious results for spatially correlated bathymetry data. 5b. and comparison of experimental semi-variogram plots. Fig. BT BT LT GT K. semi-variance is smaller for nearer points. LT and GT produce distinct surfaces that can have different effects on interpolation of residuals. Application of traditional techniques such as Students t-test and SST for comparing trend surfaces show some interesting results (Tables 3 and 4). Does this mean that these two techniques will have the same effect on bathymetry interpolation? This will become clear when results from spatial interpolations are presented in a subsequent sub-section. Both BT and LT produce similar semivariograms suggesting that these two surfaces have similar spatial distribution of semi-variance. S = Sulphur. Table 4 seems to show that beta and local polynomial trends show similar performance in capturing the variations in measured bathymetry. the mean of BT. GT is unable to capture most of the variance in the bathymetry. ð ni¼1 ðzi  zÞ2 Þ ð3Þ where z is the mean. Only results for King Ranch dataset are presented in Fig. Eq. LT and GT perform in describing individual cross-sections. whereas GT captures only around 50% of variance in measured bathymetry for most datasets. A semi-variogram plot is a plot of semivariance (Eq. Experimental semi-variogram plots of BT. O Table 4 SSE results for beta (BT). K B. (5)) which provides an overall measure of how close or accurate the estimated elevations are compared to measurements is used for quantitative assessment. and subsequently bathymetry surfaces. quantitative assessments are augmented with visual inspection of surfaces.

5 142.0 143. Similarity of residual semi- variograms from BT and LT in omni-direction and s-direction suggest that most of the trend is captured by these functions. suggesting that no or very little variance is captured. 3b. (c) trend surface using beta function.0 144.5 Z BT LT GT Elevation (m) 144. and (e) trend surface using global polynomial. 6). (b) y location in Fig.0 142.0 144. Merwade / Journal of Hydrology 371 (2009) 169–181 Fig. Similarly semi-variograms of residuals show that BT and LT capture about 75% of semi-variance in the bathymetry (residual sill is approximately 0. 3. . whereas residuals from GT produce a semi-variogram that looks similar to observed bathymetry in terms of range and sill. (d) trend surface using local polynomial.0 143. 4. Unlike other datasets that had similar semi-variograms for BT and LT. Cross-sections for King Ranch Reach at: (a) x location in Fig. 145.5 Z BT LT GT 144. semi-variograms from Brazos that had relatively better GT surfaces is also presented for comparison (Fig.5 143. BT = beta trend. Trend surfaces for King Ranch Reach: (a) bathymetry surface for the entire reach. and GT = global polynomial). 3b (Z represents the base surface.1 compared to 0.174 V.4 for bathymetry).5 142. Although overall results from King Ranch semi-variograms are applicable to all datasets. LT = local polynomial.5 143.0 0 10 20 30 40 50 0 10 20 30 40 50 Distance (m) a) b) Fig. (b) close-up view of the surface in (a).

5 1. BT = beta trend.5 1. and (d) residuals in s-direction (Z represents the base surface.5 Z BT LT Z GT 0. .3 0.4 BT 0.3 BT LT BT GT 0.4 0.5 BT LT BT GT 0.5 0. 6. 2.0 0. (c) residuals in all directions.5 1.9 0.9 0.2 0. LT = local polynomial.8 1.4 0.1 0. Semi-variograms of bathymetry.1 0. (c) residuals in all directions.3 0. and GT = global polynomial).0 0 50 100 c) 150 200 d) Fig. and (d) residuals in s-direction (Z represents the base surface.2 0.0 1. trend and residual surfaces for King Ranch: (a) bathymetry and trend surfaces in all directions. BT = beta trend.0 0 100 200 300 400 500 0 100 200 a) 400 BT GT 500 b) 1.5 2. Merwade / Journal of Hydrology 371 (2009) 169–181 0.0 0 50 100 150 0 200 50 100 a) 150 200 b) 0.5 Z BT LT Z LT 300 GT 0.5 1.5 0.175 V.2 1.0 0. (b) bathymetry and trend surfaces in s-direction.8 1.0 0 50 100 150 200 LT GT 0.5 0. (b) bathymetry and trend surfaces in s-direction.2 0.6 0.3 0.0 1. Semi-variograms of bathymetry.0 0 100 200 500 d) Fig. LT = local polynomial.2 0.1 LT GT Range Nugget Sill 0.0 0. 5.0 2.5 2.6 0.0 0 100 200 c) 300 400 500 LT GT 300 400 0.2 0. trend and residual surfaces for Brazos River: (a) bathymetry and trend surfaces in all directions. and GT = global polynomial).4 0.3 0.3 0.1 0.

0 3.2 0.1 0.0 2.0 IDW NN RS TS TG OK AK IDW NN Rainwater RS TS TG OK AK TG OK AK Sulphur 1. As a result four bathymetry surfaces are created for each interpolation technique. Assessment of spatial interpolation techniques Bathymetry points in all testing datasets are interpolated using elevations to get first set of bathymetry surfaces (interpolation including trend).3 0.3 0.5 0.2 0.4 0. RMSE for each surface is then computed by using elevations in validation datasets (Fig.0 0.8 2. 7.4 0. . and between RMSE from each technique are found to be statistically significant through Students t-test at 95% confidence level. The differences between measured and estimated bathymetry.6 0. 7).4 1.6 0.6 1.4 0.5 0.7 0.4 0.3 0.3 0. Next.5 0.2 0. the question is: are these differences any significant to affect spatial interpolation? This question is answered in the next subsection.0 0. residuals are interpolated. Again.176 V.5 0.0 IDW NN RS TS TG Kentucky OK AK IDW NN RS TS Ohio Interpolation including trend LT + interpolated residuals BT + interpolated residuals GT + interpolated residuals Fig.5 0. and (d) GT + interpolation of corresponding residuals.2 0.1 0.0 0.0 IDW NN RS TS TG OK AK IDW NN Brazos RS TS TG OK AK King Ranch 0.5 0. The 0. These are: (a) interpolation including trend. Merwade / Journal of Hydrology 371 (2009) 169–181 semi-variograms for Brazos BT and LT show visible difference. and GT = global polynomial).7 0. RMSE (m) results for spatial interpolation techniques (BT = beta trend. Mean RMSE values for all techniques for each validation dataset are presented in Table 5.1 0. and added to corresponding trend surfaces to get second set of bathymetry surfaces (interpolation excluding trend).1 0. (b) BT + interpolation of corresponding residuals.0 0. All techniques for all datasets show improvement in RMSE values when the trend is excluded from spatial interpolation.2 0. (c) LT + interpolation of corresponding residuals.6 0.5 0.6 0.8 0. LT = local polynomial.0 0.

02 9.07 19.V. (b) IDW of z including trend.41 (22) 1.45(16) Table 6 Mean percentage reduction in RMSE for each technique compared to interpolation including trend: (b) BT + interpolation of corresponding residuals. Assessment of interpolated surfaces percentage change in RMSE range from as little as 6% (with BT for Sulphur) to as much as 60% (with BT for Kentucky). With the exception of the Sulphur River. (c) beta trend + IDW residuals. For example. One advantage (that is Fig.74 17.41 (10) 0. (d) local polynomial + IDW residuals. and (d) GT + interpolation of corresponding residuals.41 (10) 0. Overall.41 0. (b) BT + interpolation of corresponding residuals. Fig.32 (22) 0.94 3.12 30.54 0. whereas regularized spline show the least improvement in RMSE. natural neighbor) do not show much change in RMSE for different trend surfaces compared to other isotropic techniques (e. and the ones that are more robust for anisotropic data (e.. 8) created using IDW for King Ranch dataset show how the surface representation is affected by including/excluding bathymetry trend during spatial interpolation.49 (6) 0.00 6. Interpolated surfaces for area surrounding Y in Fig. The numbers in parenthesis represent the percentage improvement in RMSE from (b).g.45 0. but at additional computational cost. First. 3b for King Ranch: (a) Base surface..40 0.18(35) 0. Table 6 is derived by computing the percentage change in RMSE for (b).59 13.73 (60) 0. IDW and topogrid).36(14) 0. In addition. Merwade / Journal of Hydrology 371 (2009) 169–181 Table 5 Mean RMSE in meter for all reaches by creating surfaces through: (a) interpolation including trend.g. Table 5 show that removing trends in bathymetry even through a simple function such as global polynomial that require only three parameters can have impact on spatial interpola- Although RMSE provides information on the accuracy of a bathymetric surface.52 1. accounting for trend though beta pdf has negative impact on spatial interpolation (slight increase in RMSE) for Ohio dataset.91 17. and (f) natural neighbor interpolation of z including trend.41 24.40 (25) 1.83 0.22 13. .39 (28) 0. The same is true for local and global polynomial trends for Rainwater dataset.29 17.43 (6) 0.27 177 tion. it is necessary to understand how this number affects the spatial representation. (c) LT + interpolation of corresponding residuals. interpolation techniques that account for anisotropy (e. A more qualitative assessment through visual inspection and cross-section plots is presented in the next sub-section.52 13.28 14.39 10.85 20.37 (9) 0. (e) global polynomial + IDW residuals.42 (22) 0. Other functions that require more parameters such as beta pdf and local polynomials can provide better results than global polynomial. excluding trends from bathymetry points before spatial interpolation is found to produce better results in terms of RMSE. Brazos King Ranch Rainwater Sulphur Kentucky Ohio (a) (b) (c) (d) 0.. bathymetry estimates after modeling the trend with BT show the most reduction in RMSE followed by LT and GT. and (d) GT + interpolation of corresponding residuals. bathymetry plots (Fig. IDW Natural neighbor Regular spline Tension spline Topogrid Ordinary kriging Anisotropic kriging (b) (c) (d) 39.36(11) 0. Quantitative estimates of how each interpolation techniques is affected by removing trend in bathymetry is presented in Table 6 for all datasets. (c) and (d) with respect to (a). (c) and (d) interpolation categories compared to (a) for all reaches.34(17) 0.38 (9) 0. 7 also show that RMSE results obtained through exclusive treatment of trends are not consistent among all techniques and datasets.01 14. (c) LT + interpolation of corresponding residuals. and then taking a mean of these percentages.74 23.18 20.33 23. Mean values of percentage change (or improvement) in RMSE considering all datasets show that IDW is most benefitted among all interpolation techniques. 8.33 (27) 0. anisotropic kriging).g.03 15.

8a. a spike (near banks) or depression (near thalweg) is created surrounding such points.178 V. (d) local polynomial + IDW residuals. 8) of interpolating residuals. For example. . but these spikes/depressions are still not as prominent as they appear in Fig. For example. natural neighbor which is robust (not Fig.0 0 10 20 30 40 50 Distance (m) Fig. 8c surface. (c) beta + IDW residuals. 9. the magnitude associated with each interpolating point is found to be relatively small for all study reaches to create this local effect.0 a b d e c 144. Interestingly. (b) IDW of z including trend. the quality of interpolate surface is dependent on the effectiveness of the trend surface. and (e) global polynomial + IDW residuals. and when the trend is added back.0 142. However. the overall effect is negligible as demonstrated in Fig. and (c)/(f) interpolation of residuals + trend.0 143. when residuals (bathymetry – trend) are interpolated. (b)/(c) interpolation including trend. and then adding trend to residual surface is to minimize the local influence of sparse points on interpolation results. the dark circular spots in Fig. evident from Fig. 8b are caused due to presence of single bathymetry points that have insufficient neighboring points to create a reasonable surface. 10. Merwade / Journal of Hydrology 371 (2009) 169–181 Elevation (m) 145. Cross-section at location X for surfaces in Fig 8: (a) Base surface. On the other hand. Interpolated bathymetry surfaces with natural neighbor for Brazos and Kentucky: (a)/(d) Base surface. As a result. global polynomial which is unable to capture local trends effectively also produces spikes/depressions in the final surface.

Yue et al. Results from Kentucky dataset that had typical cross-sectional data show that spatial interpolation using any method can be significantly improved through explicit treatment of bathymetry trend. Discussion and conclusions There is a growing need to obtain accurate bathymetry data for use in multi-dimensional river models (e. the data should be mapped using flow oriented (s.. For example. After removing the trend. Merwade / Journal of Hydrology 371 (2009) 169–181 12 150 (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) 147 11 (f) 10 144 9 141 138 8 0 20 40 60 80 Brazos 0 20 40 60 80 100 Kentucky Fig. Improvement in other methods is not as significant as IDW. but still better compared to interpolation including trend. Dutta et al. and a least-square regression model that fits a user-defined function to observations. Cross-section profiles at location P and Q for Brazos and Kentucky. river bathymetry data are collected as cross-sections or discrete points. The trend from the bathymetry data should be excluded at two levels.. Channel trend can be modeled in several ways: process-based predictive model. 10 and 11). the present study shows that isotropic methods can yield improved results if the trend in the data is excluded during spatial interpolation.g. (b)/(c) interpolation including trend. For example. Second. thus providing more confidence at unmeasured locations. Shen and Diplas. Although recent studies have advocated the use of anisotropic interpolation techniques (e.. commonly used isotropic interpolation methods that do not account for spatial trends yield inaccurate results. Consequently. RMSE of interpolated surface for Rainwater is nearly equal to that of Brazos and Ohio which are relatively larger/ deeper rivers with much lower point density. When field data are limited (sparse cross-sections or bathymetry points). In this study. results from this study show that more bathymetry points are not always useful if channel morphology or trend is ignored while taking measurements. Merwade et al. and (c)/(f) interpolation of residuals + trend. Therefore. The objective of this study was to use discrete bathymetry data from six study areas to investigate the effect of trend on spatial interpolation methods for creating continuous surfaces. Although it is difficult to argue against collection of more field data. cross-sections) thus affecting the quality of the final interpolated surface.. The idea of separating bathymetry into trend and its residuals is not new. the residuals can be interpolated to create a surface to which the trend is added back to get the final bathymetric surface.179 V. Rainwater dataset has much higher density of bathymetry points compared to Brazos and Ohio. but it is mainly utilized in the context of kriging (a relatively sophisticated approach compared to other simple methods such as IDW). spatial arrangement of bathymetric points is equally important in collecting field data to get a satisfactory interpolated surface from discrete bathymetry points. 1998). three regression models (two using polynomial and one using beta pdf) are used to fit bathymetric trends. as sensitive to bathymetric trend) compared to other methods produced identical surfaces for all techniques (including/excluding trends) for King Ranch. a model based on relationship between channel planform and cross-sectional asymmetry. which are interpolated to get elevation at computational nodes in river models. The overall representation of bathymetric surface created by excluding trend is more representative of measured bathymetry compared to surfaces created by interpolation of points including trend. this is not true for all datasets as described in the next paragraph. Excluding the trend from the data and then adding it back after interpolating residuals insure that the trend is restored in the final interpolated surface. 10: (a)/(d) Base surface. Typically. Because most isotropic methods are not designed to handle the trend in the data explicitly. The difference in surfaces is directly reflected in cross-section profiles presented in Fig. 2006.g. and thus not implemented in any existing isotropic interpolation methods. The robustness of natural neighbor as seen for the King Ranch dataset is not applicable for all datasets. but the final surface is more representative of the actual bathymetry. n) coordinates to remove the spatial heterogeneity in the orientation of river slope with respect to Cartesian coordinates. respectively for surfaces in Fig. First. 11. Overall. Only one surface created by natural neighbor interpolation that includes trend is presented in Fig. it is found that selection of a trend model has effect on final . but the measurements are taken along flow lines that are unable to capture the entire cross-section of the channel at any location. 2008). which in turn affects the final interpolation results. this trend can get lost during interpolation of sparse data (e.. The surfaces created by excluding trend are smoother compared to surfaces created by interpolation including trend. the cross-sectional trend must be removed from the bathymetry by using a nonlinear function. 9. Although this may suggest that a robust technique is unaffected by how the interpolation is performed (including/excluding trends).. This study shows that results from IDW can improve by as much as 40% with regard to RMSE when the trend is excluded from interpolation. and consequently affect model results that rely on bathymetry input. it becomes necessary to make the best use of these data to make accurate predictions in unmeasured locations. Results show that the bathymetric surface created by excluding trends not only gives better RMSE for validation datasets. 8f for King Ranch whose IDW counterpart is 8b. cross-sections from interpolated surfaces including and excluding trends using natural neighbor interpolation for Brazos and Kentucky show significant differences in results (Figs. The difference in final results is more distinct and considerably better for the Kentucky dataset that includes sparsely located bathymetry points along cross-sections. Tomczak.g. Inadequate description of cross-sections results in poor trend surface. 2008. Because of the presence of spatial trends in river bathymetry. 2007.

it should be noted that more research is needed to look at other factors related to this topic.R.. Hodges. Passive optical remote sensing of river channel morphology and in-stream habitat: physical basis and feasibility. Incorporating spatial trends and anisotropy in geostatistical mapping of soil properties. 1996... and drainage area can be used to get average channel width and depth through hydraulic geometry relationships. D. D. Goff. Raff. This trend must then be combined with a surface of residuals which can be one of the realizations of several random fields. L.utexas..).. Findings related to spatial arrangement of bathymetry and number of data points may be different if channel morphology... Environmental Modeling with GIS. Anisotropic considerations while interpolating river channel bathymetry.). Merwade / Journal of Hydrology 371 (2009) 169–181 interpolated surface. 75–95. Scientific Investigations Report 20085023. 2005.. 2006. Geospatial representation of river channels. 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