Determining the Accuracy of Depth Measurements Taken from Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler

Project ID: 3504
Principal Investigator: Travis Bauer
Research Topic: Ecosystem Needs
Funded Fiscal Years: 2009
Keywords: None

Research Question

Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP) have the potential to provide significant time and cost savings for bathymetric data collection. This instrument is traditionally used for measuring discharge, but recent post processing techniques have enabled users to easily retrieve individual transducer depths. Dense bathymetry data are generally required as input to 2-dimensional (2D) models used to identify habitat or impacts to water delivery. Processing time for this data is significantly less than traditional boat deployed surveying methods. Multiple days of data can be fully processed in a single day. There has been very little comparison between ground-based surveys (e.g., Global Positioning Systems [GPS]) and ADCP data. If the instrument can be thoroughly tested in a controlled experiment, the survey accuracy of the instrument could be determined. If the accuracy is proven to be within acceptable limits, the instrument can be confidently used to collect more data more quickly and also be processed more quickly.

Need and Benefit

Reclamation frequently uses 2D hydraulic models for many purposes, including assessing habitat and ecosystem function. Data for these models come from many sources including bathymetric Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), GPS surveys, and boat surveys with depth sounders. Data are collected directly by Reclamation and contractors. Accuracies for the listed survey methods are at least partially quantifiable. If the accuracy of the ADCP transducer depths can be determined, it could be more widely deployed as a bathymetric survey instrument and potentially reduce the time required to collect and process data for 2D hydraulic models.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20