Articles | Volume 11, issue 2
Research article
18 Feb 2011
Research article |  | 18 Feb 2011

An algorithm for operational flood mapping from Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data using fuzzy logic

L. Pulvirenti, N. Pierdicca, M. Chini, and L. Guerriero

Abstract. An algorithm developed to map flooded areas from synthetic aperture radar imagery is presented in this paper. It is conceived to be inserted in the operational flood management system of the Italian Civil Protection and can be used in an almost automatic mode or in an interactive mode, depending on the user's needs. The approach is based on the fuzzy logic that is used to integrate theoretical knowledge about the radar return from inundated areas taken into account by means of three electromagnetic scattering models, with simple hydraulic considerations and contextual information. This integration aims at allowing a user to cope with situations, such as the presence of vegetation in the flooded area, in which inundation mapping from satellite radars represents a difficult task. The algorithm is designed to work with radar data at L, C, and X frequency bands and employs also ancillary data, such as a land cover map and a digital elevation model. The flood mapping procedure is tested on an inundation that occurred in Albania on January 2010 using COSMO-SkyMed very high resolution X-band SAR data.