Measurement Device Calibration with Light Detection and Ranging and Flow3D

Project ID: 5505
Principal Investigator: Bryan Heiner
Research Topic: Supporting Irrigation Districts
Funded Fiscal Years: 2011
Keywords: None

Research Question

Can Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) or photogrammetry be combined with computational fluid dynamics to create custom ratings at aged or inaccurate open-channel flow measurement structures throughout Reclamation's water distribution systems?

Need and Benefit

Reclamation is currently one of the largest wholesalers of water in the country, bringing water to over 31 million people and 140,000 farmers. Providing water to such a vast number of individuals requires a diverse infrastructure. Unfortunately, many transmission canals and channels currently operate with limited flow measurement accuracy, making water distribution difficult. Even flow measurement devices that were once accurate are aging and have been degraded, causing reduced flow measurement accuracy. As flow measurement accuracy decreases, it becomes difficult for Reclamation to manage and distribute the water it wholesales.

In order to install new (or regain accuracy of aged) measurement devices requires extensive time and financial support. If a custom rating is desired, flow rates and canal depths need to be changed over the entire range of operation. This can require large time commitments considering that many canals will take several hours to stabilize before depth measurements and flow rates can be obtained for each rating point. When a device needs to be repaired or installed, financial support is often unavailable. In addition, both custom ratings and new device installations disrupt water deliveries and use unnecessary water, which adversely affects water distribution.

This scoping research project will include literature reviews to determine the best technique (LiDAR or photogrametry) to obtain accurate as-built dimensions and at sites that need to achieve accurate flow measurements. An integral step in the scoping process will also include investigations as to which method (LiDAR or photogrametry) will allow Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models to be constructed with the most ease. In addition to literature review, professional relationships will be developed, providing access to LiDAR and photogrametry equipment. Throughout the scoping process and other work being performed by research engineers, sites and agencies that will benefit from this work will be documented.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Measurement Device Calibration with Light detection and Ranging and CFD - Scoping Summary Reserach Project #5505 (final, PDF, 169KB)
By Bryan Heiner
Report completed on September 10, 2012

A summary of the scoping work completed for project #5505

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Last Updated: 6/22/20