Media Resource: Press Release

SCALGO Live Global: Interactively explore the effects of global topography on surface water flow

February 19, 2014

The topography of the Earth influences our lives in many ways. It determines where rivers form, where the sun shines, what we can see and what routes we travel. SCALGO Live Global provides a unique way of understanding the effect of global topography (mountains, valleys, etc.) on the flow of surface water and flood risk. This is possible through interactions with SCALGO's analysis on a big data representation of the Earth's surface. SCALGO is making the analysis freely available to the public at scalgo.com/live/global.

Due to advances in data acquisition technology, detailed and accurate–and thus very big–terrain data is increasingly becoming available. However, much of the data's potential is in the analysis that it enables, and the knowledge that can be extracted from this analysis. SCALGO's unique big data processing technology turns terrain data on a regional, national or even global scale into useful knowledge such as information about flood risk. As the data is updated due to change in the topography, increased data accuracy from new improved measurements or manual edits, the analysis can be efficiently updated. SCALGO Live is built to allow for easy extraction, maintenance, visualization and distribution of knowledge based on detailed, accurate and dynamic terrain data at various resolutions. SCALGO Live Global illustrates some of the benefits of the technology using the 60 billion element, near-global, three arc-seconds (90-meter at the equator) resolution SRTM dataset made available by NASA. Over time more tools, analysis and higher-resolution data will be added to SCALGO Live to illustrate what is possible with large area terrain data and the SCALGO analysis technology.

flash flood map

SCALGO Live Flood Risk showing a flash flood map and river network of a location in eastern Denmark

Scalable Algorithmics (SCALGO) was founded with the mission to bring cutting-edge big terrain data processing technology to market. The SCALGO technology is based on more than two decades of basic and applied research on I/O-efficient and geometric algorithms at Center for Massive Data Algorithmics (MADALGO) at Aarhus University in Denmark and at Duke University in the US, in collaboration with industry LiDAR and environmental GIS application experts. SCALGO provides a range of desktop software, analysis and online large-area detailed terrain data set processing and analysis products.