Google Earth as a tool in 2-D hydrodynamic modeling

Nguyen Chien, Soon Keat Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


A method for coupling virtual globes with geophysical hydrodynamic models is presented. Virtual globes such as GoogleTM Earth can be used as a visualization tool to help users create and enter input data. The authors discuss techniques for representing linear and areal geographical objects with KML (Keyhole Markup Language) files generated using computer codes (scripts). Although virtual globes offer very limited tools for data input, some data of categorical or vector type can be entered by users, and then transformed into inputs for the hydrodynamic program by using appropriate scripts. An application with the AnuGA hydrodynamic model was used as an illustration of the method. Firstly, users draw polygons on the Google Earth screen. These features are then saved in a KML file which is read using a script file written in the Lua programming language. After the hydrodynamic simulation has been performed, another script file is used to convert the resulting output text file to a KML file for visualization, where the depths of inundation are represented by the color of discrete point icons. The visualization of a wind speed vector field was also included as a supplementary example.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
JournalComputers and Geosciences
Issue number1
Early online date09 Jun 2010
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Virtual globe
  • KML
  • Visulization
  • Visualization


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