In this assignment you will be doing a series of data analysis and modelling tasks using some real-world
geographical data. It is diﬀerent to the homework assignments you have done up until this point in that for
almost all of the questions, there is no single “right” answer. You are also not given any tests against which
to check your answers (although you are encouraged to write your own to help you test the correctness of
your functions). Because there is no single “right” answer, it will be important to justify the decisions and
choices that you make while completing the assignment. This is important since it allows anyone relying
on your results and conclusions to understand how they were obtained and whether they are suitable for a
The Cotter River provides the ACT with the majority of its water supply. The river stretches over 70
kilometers from the South West edge of the ACT, Northward until it joins with the Murrumbidgee River,
just below the Cotter Dam. In addition to the Cotter Dam, there are two other reservoirs along the Cotter
River, Bendora Dam and Corin Dam. These three dams store the majority of water used in the ACT.
The Cotter Dam (left) and Corin Dam (right) are both overﬂowing after the wet Summer and Autumn we’ve
had in Canberra this year.
For this assignment, we have obtained elevation data for the majority of the Cotter River catchment area,
at a 5 meter resolution. You will be analysing this data and answering some questions about the region,
including some questions that are relevant to Canberra’s drinking water supply.
We have provided you with two csv ﬁles – elevation_data_small.csv and elevation_data_large.csv.
These two csv ﬁles contain height information on a 5 metre grid. The elevation_data_small.csv ﬁle
contains just the Cotter Dam region. The elevation_data_large.csv contains the entire Cotter River
catchment area including the Cotter Dam, Bendora Dam and Corin Dam, as well as the surrounding mountain
ranges and the Namadgi National Park. You can see a heatmap of the two data sets in the images below.
Brighter colours are higher elevation. You can also see the Cotter Dam on Google maps here, Bendora Dam
here and Corin Dam here.
Elevation data for the Cotter Dam (left) and Cotter River catchment area (right).
The elevation_data_small ﬁle looks like this (but with a lot more rows and columns):
… ,… ,… ,… ,…
All elevation values are in meters.
This means that the elevation of the NorthWest most point in the region is 693.366m, the point 5 meters to
the East of it has elevation 692.038 meters and so forth.
If we need to refer to a speciﬁc cell in the data, we can do so using its x and y coordinates. We’ll use matrix
style indexing so the origin (x=0, y=0) is the top left grid cell, rather than the bottom left grid cell you might
see on a traditional graph. The coordinate at x = 2 and y = 4 means the 3rd column from the left and the
5th row from the top (highlighted in yellow in Figure 1).
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