In concept, a "digital hydroscape" is a virtual riverine-terrestrial environment that supports analysis of physical and biological processes, and human interactions with them.
In practice, a digital hydroscape is the numerical framework, operating within a GIS, that forms the virtual environment. The digital hydroscape and its formulation within NetMap has been evolving over time (Miller 2002, Benda et al. 2007, Clarke et al. 2008, Miller and Burnett et al. 2007, 2008, Benda et al. 2009, 2011).
The design architecture of the hydroscape contains five benchmark elements:
1) digital elevation or digital terrain models,
2) routed and attributed synthetic stream layer,
3) landform and process characterization,
4) landscape and land use discretization and
5) connectivity, including river-terrestrial coupling (Miller 2002, Clarke et al. 2008).
One evolving form of the digital hydroscape within a decision support system, NetMap (Benda et al. 2007), is designed to address aquatic oriented resource management and conservation questions and to broaden access of those capabilities to larger stakeholder groups in a community setting (Benda et al. 2009).
The synthetic river network in a hydroscape is the integrating feature, just like in real watersheds, and it supports analyses of connectivity and routing including: 1) downstream, 2) upstream, 3) across valley, 4) downslope - upslope, 5) terrestrial - river and 6) land surface - atmosphere.
In the Digital Hydroscape, past, present and future land uses can be placed in context with natural processes and landforms to identify habitat stressor interactions and to optimize resource use, risk mitigation, restoration and conservation planning.
Learn how digital hydroscapes (also called "digital landscapes") are built (step by step, through the PPT)