Flood extent maps derived from SAR images are a useful source of data for validating hydraulic models of river flood flow. The accuracy of such maps is reduced by a number of factors, including changes in returns from the water surface caused by different meteorological conditions and the presence of emergent vegetation. The paper describes how improved accuracy can be achieved by modifying an existing flood extent delineation algorithm to use airborne laser altimetry (LiDAR) as well as SAR data. The LiDAR data provide an additional constraint that waterline (land-water boundary) heights should vary smoothly along the flooded reach. The method was tested on a SAR image of a flood for which contemporaneous aerial photography existed, together with LiDAR data of the un-flooded reach. Waterline heights of the SAR flood extent conditioned on both SAR and LiDAR data matched the corresponding heights from the aerial photo waterline significantly more closely than those from the SAR flood extent conditioned only on SAR data
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