Simulation and Visualization of Gully Erosion – a Work-in-Progress Report
2019-06-25, 12:30–12:45, Room 2

Using Python for simulating Gully Erosion, which is a severe environmental problem in many regions of the world. Data preparation and visualization is done by a GIS, where as the simulation is done using a stand-alone Python program.

The degradation of soil fertility by erosion is a is a severe problem in many countries around the world. Gully erosion is a highly visible form of soil erosion that affects soil productivity, restricts land use and can in addition threaten roads, fences and buildings. This type of erosion by water is aggravated by the occurrence of significant changes in terms of land degradation and desertification in many part of the world as in South Africa, Chile, Iran and many parts in Europa. Gully erosion has been long neglected because it is difficult to model, to predict and to visualize its effects. Many gullies grow initially rapidly to large dimensions, making effective control technically difficult or prohibitively expensive. This is why studies on gullying processes as well as modelling attempts remain scarce. In order to assess soil vulnerability to gully erosion, it is necessary to identify and analyze the leading factors.
In this project, based on the topographic characteristics of a catchment area, soil characteristics and measured run-off, a simulation of the development of a gully over time has been implemented in Python. For the data preparation as well as visualization of the results a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is used. A particular challenge is to combine the 3D pointwise simulation results of gully depth and width to a straightforward gully channel embedded into a Digital Elevation Model.