A web-based groundwater mapping and visualization tool using Google Earth


drought, monitoring, prediction, response, Google Earth


In 2011-2012, the state of Texas saw the worst one-year drought on record. In response to this crisis, a Texas Drought Technology Steering Committee (TDTSC) consisting of academics and water managers was formed to develop new tools and strategies to assist the state in monitoring, predicting, and responding to drought events. As part of this effort we developed a cloud-based water level mapping system that uses an automated geoprocessing script to interpolate observed water elevation time-series data both temporally and spatially. The web-based user-interface allows users to generate water level maps at locations and times of interest and uses a Google Earth plug-in to visualize the results. The system is based on the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) groundwater database, but can be adapted to use other regional databases. As part of this system we created a temporal interpolation geoprocessing tool to estimate the piezometric heads for all wells in a given region at a specific date using a regression analysis. This interpolation tool is coupled with other geoprocessing tools to filter data and interpolate point elevations spatially to produce water level, drawdown, and depth to groundwater maps. A sequence of maps can be animated to visualize how water levels are changing in time. Short- term predictions of future water levels can be made using the same time series regression analysis.

Original Publication Citation

Christensen, Scott D., Michael Burns, Gil Strassberg, and Norman L. Jones. "A Web-Based Groundwater Mapping and Visualization Tool Using Google Earth." InWorld Environmental & Water Resources Congress. Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, OH, 2013.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Permanent URL



InWorld Environmental & Water Resources Congress




Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Civil and Environmental Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor