Depression filling and direction assignment over flat areas are critical issues in hydrologic analysis. This paper proposes a method to handle depressions and flat areas in one procedure. Being different from the traditional raster neighbourhoods processing with little heuristic information, the method is designed to compensate for the inadequate searching information of other methods. The proposed method routes flow through depressions and flat areas by searching for the outlet using the heuristic information. Heuristic information can reveal the general trend slope of the DEM (digital elevation models) and help the proposed method find the outlet accurately. The method is implemented in Pascal and experiments are carried out on actual DEM data. It can be seen from the comparison with the four existing methods that the proposed method can get a closer match result with the ground truth network. Moreover, the proposed method can avoid the generation of the unrealistic parallel drainage lines, unreal drainage lines and spurious terrain features.
Keywords: DEMs, drainage networks, flow direction, heuristic information, hydrologic analysis