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OSW Hydroacoustics

These pages provide information on hydroacoustic technology for users in the USGS and other agencies. Since the early 1980s the USGS has worked cooperatively with manufacturers to develop and enhance the use of acoustic Doppler instruments for streamflow and other hydraulic measurements. The Office of Surface Water maintains these web pages to provide updated information on hydroacoustics instruments and their use within the USGS and elsewhere.

What's New?

QRev Software Released!

OSW Technical Memorandum 2016.03 announces the release of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) QRev software for processing streamflow measurements made using an acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) from a moving-boat. QRev was developed by the USGS to provide for more consistent review of ADCP discharge measurements and to gain efficiency. QRev supports both SonTek and Teledyne RD Instruments ADCPs. After a transitional period (3-6 months), OSW plans to make use of QRev mandatory for processing moving-boat ADCP streamflow measurements. For the moment, the software is available only to USGS personnel, but a public release is coming soon.

SonTek M9 and TRDI RiverRay Validation Paper Published!

A journal article titled, Validation of Streamflow Measurements Made with M9 and RiverRay Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers, has been published. The article, co-authored by Justin A. Boldt and Kevin Oberg, describes the results of efforts to validate M9 and RiverRay discharge measurements. According to this article, statistical analyses of streamflow measurements indicate that measurements made with the SonTek M9 ADCP using firmware 2.00–3.00 or the TRDI RiverRay ADCP using firmware 44.12–44.15 are unbiased. However, for the M9 ADCP, some important issues must be considered in making future measurements. A high-resolution version of the paper is also available.

Limitations of the Loop Method Documented

The OSW has documented a limitation of the loop moving-bed test for streams that are wider than 180 ft. This limitation is caused by the combined effect of potential heading errors of a well calibrated compass, stream width, and test duration (or boat speed).

Revised Moving Boat ADCP Discharge Measurement T&M Available

Recent Podcasts and Recorded Webinars and other On-Demand Training

Submit Hydroacoustic Comparison Measurements (USGS login required)

Selected Papers of Interest

Estimating the Uncertainty of Streamgauging Techniques Using In Situ Collaborative Interlaboratory Experiments by Le Coz, J., Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, 2016.
Flow in bedrock canyons by Vendetti, J., et. al., Nature, 2014.
Estimating longitudinal dispersion in rivers using Acoustic Doppler Current Profilersby Shen, C., Published in Advances in Water Resources 33 (2010) 615–623.
extrap: Software to assist the selection of extrapolation methods for moving-boat ADCP streamflow measurements by David S. Mueller. Published in Computers & Geosciences, 2013.

Selected topics from the Hydroacoustics Community Forum.

Remote Desktop in the field with portable devices...
Reasonable WinRiver thresholds for a StreamPro
Serial to USB adapters
Best Practices for Collecting Mid-section Discharge Measurements with ADCPs
Index-velocity rating and data synchronization Excel template

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