Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2017

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Mantilla Gutierrez, Ricardo

First Committee Member

Demir, Ibrahim

Second Committee Member

Krajewski, Witold

Third Committee Member

Weber, Larry


This work explores the use of hydroinformatics tools to provide a user friendly and accessible interface for executing and visualizing the output of distributed hydrological models for Iowa. It uses an IFIS-based web environment for graphical displays and it communicates with the ASYNCH ODE solver to provide input parameters and to gather modeling outputs. The distributed hydrologic models used here are based on the segmentation of the terrain into hillslope-link hydrologic units, for which water flow processes are represented by sets of nonlinear ordinary differential equations. This modeling strategy has shown promising results in in modeling extreme flood events in the state of Iowa – USA. The usage and evaluation of outputs from hillslope-link models (HLM) has been limited to a restrict group of academics due to the demand of high processing capability and the number of customized tools needed to visualize model outputs. HLM-based models provide abundant output information on rainfall-runoff processes of the hydrological cycle, including estimates of discharge for all streams in the state of Iowa, and for all conceptual vertical layers of water storage in soils.

The interfaces and methodologies developed in this thesis respond to the constant demand for communicating effectively water-related information from academic communities to the public using hydroinformatics tools to provide an accessible portal to the information generated by complex hydrological models. It also facilitates model development and evaluation by allowing rapid development of what-if scenarios. This work represents a significant advance in this direction, and the results have been made publicly available online under the URL

Public Abstract

The State of Iowa faces the environmental threat of extreme flooding events. A case in point is the historical event of June 2008, which involved flooding of all major rivers in Eastern Iowa including the Iowa-Cedar, Turkey, Wapsipinicon and Maquoketa Rivers. It affected important urban centers, including Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. The floods caused a considerable amount of property damages and long term loss of economic activity. Motivated by such occurrence, the Iowa Flood Center was established in 2009 with the objective of developing flood-related studies and projects that would benefit the State of Iowa and contribute to preparedness and mitigation plans.

Some of the work developed by the IFC since its creation includes the HLM- ASYNCH hydrological modeling framework, which had the novelty of being able to provide rainfall-runoff and runoff-routing simulations for the entire State of Iowa in real- time. However, due to the complexity of such system, few tools have been developed so far to represent and evaluate its outputs through an accessible user interface, restricting its effective use to academic members of IFC.

This thesis proposes a web interface for a set of HLM-ASYNCH pre-defined models based on IFIS for 1) triggering model execution and provide output visualization and evaluation for past flood events and 2) make real-time-generated information accessible to general public through visualization of the model output, comparison between multiple models and evaluation of its results with respect to observed data from multiple sources. The interface has been published to the web under the URL


Asynch, Hillslope-Link Model, Hydroinformatics, Hydrologic model, IFIS, Model-Plus


xi, 83 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 79-81).


Copyright © 2017 Andre Della Libera Zanchetta