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Quick tutorial for using the SIDE Algorithm in SAGA GIS

This tutorial describes the how to calculate side-separated quantities to streams and riparian zones
using the method described by Grabs et al. (Grabs et al., 2010). If you apply, modify or cite this
method please refer to:

Grabs, T. J., K. G. Jencso, B. L. McGlynn, and J. Seibert (2010), Calculating terrain indices along streams: A new method for
separating stream sides, Water Resour. Res., 46, W12536, doi:10.1029/2010WR009296.

These instructions apply to SAGA version 2.06. If you have another version please be aware
that some things could have changed. In this case you might find help on the SAGA user forum or
on http://thomasgrabs.com/side-algorithm/.

1) Install the latest version of SAGA GIS (http://sourceforge.net/projects/saga-gis/)

2) Perform the necessary steps to create a hydrologically sound digital elevation model (DEM) and
derive a channel network. The second volume of the SAGA user guide by Cimmery

Applying the SIDE algorithm

If you fulfill the prerequisites above you should have access to the following
two files:

- A hydrologically sound DEM (i.e., all sinks and depressions

- A Channel Direction map (created when using the Channel
network module).

In SAGA version 2.06 the SIDE algorithm has been added to the
Parallel Processing module, which can be found in the module category
Terrain-Analysis Hydrology (Figure 1). Note that this might be a
preliminary solution that could change in future versions of SAGA GIS.
Figure 1: The Parallel
Processing module can
To calculate side-separated contributions to left and right stream be used to apply the SIDE
banks (respectively to riparian zones) you need to use the DEM as input to algorithm.
the Elevation field and the Channel direction map as input to the
Target field (Figure 2). You further need to specify that the maps called Accumulated material
from_left_side and Accumulated material from_right_side should be created as output files. You
can further choose the Method to use to accumulate flow. I usually apply to the Multiple
Triangular Flow method (Seibert and McGlynn, 2007) but the SIDE algorithm can be applied with
any of these methods.

After executing the module three new maps are generated: Catchment area is a default
output of the Parallel Processing module and contains upslope accumulated area values for all grid
cells in the DEM (usually the unit is in square meters). The other two maps, i.e. Accumulated
material from_left_side and Accumulated material from_right_side, contain the number of grid
cells that enter the stream laterally from left and right. To convert this into catchment area it is,
thus, necessary to multiply each of two maps by the area of one grid cell (usually this is calculated as:
area = resolution resolution). The two maps only have non-missing values at stream locations,
which correspond to locations where the Channel Direction map has non-missing values. Note
that the left and right are defined when looking in downstream direction.

Figure 2: Screen shot of the Parallel Processing module in Saga 2.06.

It is further possible to calculate other accumulated indices for left and right stream sides. For
example, you can accumulate elevation values to left and right stream sides by using the DEM as
input to the Material field while all other fields remain as previously described. In this case the two
maps Accumulated material from_left_side and Accumulated material from_right_side will
contain the sum of accumulated material from left and right sides. If you did not overwrite the
previously calculated number of grid cells you can now use the to calculate, e.g., the average
elevation from left by dividing the sum of accumulated elevation through the number of grid cells
on the left stream side. Of course, the same procedure can be applied to calculate other average
terrain indices by simply using other input maps for the Material field.

Please note that this module is distributed in the hope that it will be
useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of

GRABS, T. J., JENCSO, K. G., MCGLYNN, B. L. & SEIBERT, J. (2010) Calculating terrain
indices along streams - a new method for separating stream sides Water Resources
Research, 46, W12536.
SEIBERT, J. & MCGLYNN, B. L. (2007) A new triangular multiple flow direction algorithm
for computing upslope areas from gridded digital elevation models. Water Resources
Research, 43.