Introduction to RiverTools 4.0
RiverTools 4.0 is a user-friendly GIS application for analysis and visualization of digital terrain, watersheds and river networks. One of RiverTools' most powerful features is its ability to rapidly extract drainage network patterns and analyze hydrologic data from very large DEMs (digital elevation models). With RiverTools you can perform a comprehensive, start-to-finish analysis of a watershed, sub-basin and river network in a fraction of the time it would take with less-specialized GIS software. RiverTools provides accurate measurement of river and basin characteristics such as upstream area, channel lengths, elevation drops, slope and curvature using the Earth ellipsoid model of your choice. RiverTools makes it easy to delineate catchment boundaries and calculate numerous basin and sub-basin parameters. RiverTools can import and export data from other GIS applications such as ESRI's ArcView (via support for shapefiles, BIL, FLT, GeoTIFF) and with remote sensing, image processing systems such as ENVI (Environment for Visualizing Images).
Many of the grids computed by RiverTools are required as inputs to distributed hydrologic models. A new hydrologic model called TopoFlow can be used as a plug-in to RiverTools to create a powerful, hydrologic modeling and visualization environment. Both RiverTools and TopoFlow are written in Interactive Data Language (IDL), a product of Exelis Visual Information Solutions (formerly ITT).
By itself, RiverTools is a full-featured application that uses an intuitive Graphical User Interface for access to all of its powerful mosaicking, visualization and analysis routines. However, RiverTools can also be used together with IDL, so that IDL can serve as a fast and robust scripting language for extending RiverTools. IDL is an easy to use, cross-platform language for visualization, analysis and rapid application development that can be purchased separately from Exelis Visual Information Solutions. IDL makes it easy to add your own custom processing routines to RiverTools and to link RiverTools with other applications and code written in C, C++ or Fortran. The RiverTools Command Reference documents a large number of RiverTools commands that can be used at the IDL command line or in your own IDL programs.
To learn more about how RiverTools is different from similar software, please see this discussion of Key Benefits. You may also want to use our one-page Fact Sheet to get an overview of major features.