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Watershed Algorithm:  referrals please (need to locate a drainage divide line)

02-16-2011 05:45 AM
New Contributor

I have 30 years experience as a licensed surveyor in California but I'm just beginning to learn GIS.  I have a client that wants me to locate the County Line.  Trouble is, the legal definition of the County Line is the drainage divide line running along a ridge line.  This isn't much of an issue where the ridge line is well defined, but does become a problem in the flatter saddle areas. 

My research turned up papers on "Watershed Algorithms" and it appears to me to be the answer for locating--as accurately as possible--such a drainage divide line.  At first I thought that I could handle this myself, once I found a suitable software routine.  But now I am assuming that it would behoove me to hire a GIS sub-consultant with experience in using watershed algorithms. 

My client has already used aerial lidar to develop a DEM of the area in question.  Can anyone point me to someone who can take this data and crunch out a divide line for me?

Any other suggestions/advice?

R. Lee Hixson, PLS
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Occasional Contributor
Hi Lee,
I got some pretty good results using Manifold GIS with its surface tools extension.
But, imho, the best results for this kind of analysis would be RiverTools (
Rivix also offer consultancy services and I've always found them to be very helpful.
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New Contributor
Hi, Dave...

Thanks for the suggestions.  I will check them out.

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