High water mark (HWM) survey data is collected after flood events to understand and document the extent of flooding and to support the calibration and assessment of hydraulic models. HWM surveyors record the observed elevation of the flood peak, and provide the data needed to estimate the maximum flood-inundation surface. Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) has been collecting HWM information following flood events since the 1970s.

HWM data collected by AEP has historically been stored in a series of reports written after a flood event. It was the goal of AEP to empower stakeholders by providing easy access to HWM data in a web environment. This required the years of HWM data to be digitized and compiled. 


In early 2017, AEP contracted Matrix Solutions Inc. to undertake the work of populating the HWM database. With approximately 2,250 sites, in about 250 reports, the successful delivery of the project required efficient execution of data extraction, data entry, georeferencing, and photograph compilation. Furthermore, to ensure that the resulting HWM database became a trusted source of data, quality control (QC) measures were required. 


Matrix understood that the success of a project of this nature depended on confidence in the final database deliverable. Therefore, a process was developed to ensure that QC was built in at every step of the project. Furthermore, the time constraints of the project required that the database population be completed in an efficient and scalable way.

To accomplish the goals of the project, Matrix used a single centralized database to store data extracted from HWM reports. Custom data entry forms were developed, which allowed multiple technicians to enter, view, and update records concurrently. The central database also provided the Matrix project manager with up to the minute information on progress and pace of data entry. 


The final database was successfully delivered on time and on budget.  The database was seamlessly incorporated into AEP’s web-GIS environment allowing it’s users easy access to decades worth of centralized high water mark information, on demand.




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    We routinely lead characterization of stream morphology to:

    • Assess fluvial erosion hazards
    • Develop alternatives for erosion control in environmental assessments
    • Develop management strategies as part of land use planning (subwatershed, secondary, tertiary plans and site plans)
    • Assist in culvert/bridge design
    • Define erosion thresholds to inform stormwater management

    Learn about some of the interesting projects Matrix’s team of environmental consultants and engineers get to be a part of.

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