NASA-MODIS Record of the 2011 Mississippi Valley Flood

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G. R. Brakenridge, Dartmouth Flood Observatory, University of Colorado



The above shows, in red, the extent of flood water as imaged on May 6-8, 2011 by the two MODIS sensors. Light red shows flooding extent as of May 1-4, 2011. The shaded relief background is topography provided by the NASA SRTM data. Dark blue illustrates pre-flooding water.

NASA's two MODIS sensors provide "always-on" twice-daily coverage of the Earth's surface at a maximum spatial resolution of 250 m. This remote sensing is often the first available during a major flood; and it is also the best choice for rapid location of affected areas or for mapping surface water changes over large areas.

These data are processed at the Observatory to provide consistent water/land classification and boundaries. The data are then ingested into GIS (geographical information system) software. Output data products include map displays such as the above, but also the GIS water area outlines (in .shp and other standard formats). These can be accessed by end users in an ftp directory at

GIS data and graphics are both online publications of the Dartmouth Flood Observatory, G. R. Brakenridge, 2011. Unrestricted use. Please cite this source.

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