Data Acquisition, Preprocessing and Modelling using HEC-RAS

Follow lectures on the theory for hydraulic modelling with HEC-RAS and acquire practical experience during computer exercises on hydraulic modelling with HEC-RAS.

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For whom?

The course is designed for professionals (engineers and scientists) active in the water sector, especially those involved in using simulation models for water management.

Dates, Fee, ECTS

Start: 17 September 2018
End: 28 September 2018
Deadline IHE application: 16 August 2018 - 23.59 (CET)
Course fee: € 1900

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
  1. Find and analyse freely available GIS and Remote Sensing datasets
  2. Preprocess data (GIS, remote sensing, tabular data) for use in models (e.g. conversion, projection, catchment delineation, etc.) using open source software (QGIS, GDAL)
  3. Use scripts (Python) to batch process datasets
  4. Implement HEC-RAS for hydraulic modelling

For many studies models are used or developed. During modelling courses not much attention is paid to the preprocessing of input data and parameters needed for the models. A lot of open source software is available for this purpose. Besides desktop tools with graphical user interfaces, scripting is very useful for processing large datasets and timeseries. With the skills learned in the first week of this course you will be able to find open access GIS data and more efficiently process your data for your models using tools like QGIS, GDAL and Python. In the second week you will acquire practical experience during computer exercises on hydraulic modelling with HEC-RAS. HEC-RAS is a software program that models hydrodynamics of flow in a river and/or channel. It is used to determine if for a given discharge the flow exceeds the river bank levels. Flooding studies can be carried out to determine the flood extent and volume.


It is expected that participants have good computer skills and basic knowledge of hydraulics.

Course content

  1. Introduction to Open Source software for GIS and hydrological modelling;
  2. Spatial Data Infrastructures for Open Access Water Data;
  3. Using QGIS to digitize vector layers from a scanned map;
  4. Using QGIS for importing tabular data into GIS, data correction and interpolation;
  5. Using QGIS for catchment and stream delineation;
  6. File conversions using GDAL and Python;
  7. Introduction to Python;
  8. Introduction to river flow routing;
  9. Basic equations of unsteady flow in rivers;
  10. Introduction to HEC-RAS. Modelling capabilities;
  11. Modelling Floods using HEC-RAS;
  12. Structures;
  13. Modelling dam breaks.


  • Lectures;
  • Computer exercises.