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Lecture on laser altimetry and its applications in water resources management at TU Delft

Overview of this page

Other pages on laser altimetry

Laser altimetry in the course Spatial Tools on Water Resources Management

27 May 2010

Students at Delft University of Technology which are in the master phase of either water management (part of civil engineering) or geomatics have the opportunity to follow the elective course on Spatial Tools on Water Resources Management. This is a six day course (3 EC, 84 hours), supervised by Olivier Hoes.

The course discusses several Geographical Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) tools relevant for analysis of problems in and aspects of water systems. In exercises and lectures, several tools and applications are introduced. The course structure consists of an introductory lecture and an assignment on each tool or application.

Because of his profound knowlegde of both laser altimetry as a remote sensing technique and its applications in water and dike management, Swartvast owner Rens Swart was asked to teach students on these subjects.

The course is English spoken.

Subjects covered

Subjects covered in the lecture are:

  • Need for height data in water management; historical data sets
  • The advent of laser altimetry as a height measuring technique
  • The first generation Up-to-date Height Model of The Netherlands (Actueel Hoogtemodel Nederland, AHN), specifications and examples
  • Laser altimetry: the technique, principles and (a better look into) illustrations, error components and terrain representation
  • The second generation AHN (AHN-2): development, specifications and products
  • Applications of AHN-2 laser altimetry height data:
  • AHN-2 for water management
  • AHN-2 for dike management and assessment of 2007 pilot data for dike geometry and stability assessment
  • AHN-2 for mapping
  • Other applications of AHN-2 in water management
  • Non-water management applications of AHN-2
  • Applications for which AHN-2 is not suited, e.g. vegetation modelling

The assignment on the use of laser altimetry height data

TU Delft professor Olivier Hoes developed an assignment during which a flooding of the Haarlemmermeer polder (18.500 hectares) after a breach of the belt canal (ringvaart) is simulated. This is done with the Sobek software. It contains a schematization of the belt canal system and the water system of the polder. But water is also allowed to flood the dry land. For this a sparse digital height model is used, consisting of the first generation AHN with a grid cell size of 100 meter. This limited detail was more or less required to limit processing time.

Questions the students had to investigate were:

  • Does breach size matter? During the assignment, breach lengths of 20, 40, and 80 m are investigated.
  • Does it matter whether the polder pumping stations are stopped when a flood occurs?
  • Does incorporating an old military dike in the model (the Geniedijk, reminiscence of the Stelling van Amsterdam) influence the damage?

Presentation available

As the presentation used during the lecture is the most extensive presentation on laser altimetry and its applications in water and dike management by Swartvast and as it is well illustrated, it can be of interest to a broad audience. If you are interested, do not hesitate to contact us.

For further reading

Links to other pages with more information about laser altimetry and the AHN can be found at the top of this page.

Advise and information: contact

As can be seen from this and the other pages, Swartvast has a profound experience with and knowlegde of laser altimetry the AHN. For advise on the use of laser altimetry and the AHN, you are cordially invited to contact me.

Rens Swart