This dissertation presents the design, development and validation of new data integration methods for mapping the extent of snow cover based on open access ground station measurements, remote sensing images, volunteer observer snow reports, and cross country ski track recordings from location-enabled mobile devices. The first step of the data integration procedure includes data discovery, data retrieval, and data quality control of snow observations at ground stations. The WaterML R package developed in this work enables hydrologists to retrieve and analyze data from multiple organizations that are listed in the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences Inc (CUAHSI) Water Data Center catalog directly within the R statistical software environment. Using the WaterML R package is demonstrated by running an energy balance snowpack model in R with data inputs from CUAHSI, and by automating uploads of real time sensor observations to CUAHSI HydroServer. The second step of the procedure requires efficient access to multi-temporal remote sensing snow images. The Snow Inspector web application developed in this research enables the users to retrieve a time series of fractional snow cover from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) for any point on Earth. The time series retrieval method is based on automated data extraction from tile images provided by a Web Map Tile Service (WMTS). The average required time for retrieving 100 days of data using this technique is 5.4 seconds, which is significantly faster than other methods that require the download of large satellite image files. The presented data extraction technique and space-time visualization user interface can be used as a model for working with other multi-temporal hydrologic or climate data WMTS services. The third, final step of the data integration procedure is generating continuous daily snow cover maps. A custom inverse distance weighting method has been developed to combine volunteer snow reports, cross-country ski track reports and station measurements to fill cloud gaps in the MODIS snow cover product. The method is demonstrated by producing a continuous daily time step snow presence probability map dataset for the Czech Republic region. The ability of the presented methodology to reconstruct MODIS snow cover under cloud is validated by simulating cloud cover datasets and comparing estimated snow cover to actual MODIS snow cover. The percent correctly classified indicator showed accuracy between 80 and 90% using this method. Using crowdsourcing data (volunteer snow reports and ski tracks) improves the map accuracy by 0.7 – 1.2 %. The output snow probability map data sets are published online using web applications and web services.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





crowdsourcing, image analysis, interpolation, MODIS, R statistical software, snow cover, snowpack probability, Tethys platform, time series, WaterML, web services, winter sports