Integration of UAV photogrammetry and SPH modelling of fluids to study runoff on real terrains

PLoS One. 2014 Nov 5;9(11):e111031. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111031. eCollection 2014.


Roads can experience runoff problems due to the intense rain discharge associated to severe storms. Two advanced tools are combined to analyse the interaction of complex water flows with real terrains. UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) photogrammetry is employed to obtain accurate topographic information on small areas, typically on the order of a few hectares. The Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) technique is applied by means of the DualSPHysics model to compute the trajectory of the water flow during extreme rain events. The use of engineering solutions to palliate flood events is also analysed. The study case simulates how the collected water can flow into a close road and how precautionary measures can be effective to drain water under extreme conditions. The amount of water arriving at the road is calculated under different protection scenarios and the efficiency of a ditch is observed to decrease when sedimentation reduces its depth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Models, Theoretical*

Grant support

This work was partially financed by Xunta de Galicia under project Programa de Consolidación e Estructuración de Unidades de Investigación Competitivas (Grupos de Referencia Competitiva), Parga Pondal grant IPP055, both co-funded by European Regional Development Fund (FEDER), by the Spanish Centre for Technological and Industrial Development under Project IDI-20101770 and by Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad under Project BIA2012-38676-C03-03. The authors also thank Barcelona Supercomputing Centre for providing computational time at the Minotauro under the activity FI-2013-2-0013 & FI-2013-3-0008. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.