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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-625
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Technical note
01 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Bathymetry observations of inland water bodies using a tethered single-beam sonar controlled by an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Filippo Bandini1, Daniel Olesen2, Jakob Jakobsen2, Cecile Marie Margaretha Kittel1, Sheng Wang1, Monica Garcia1, and Peter Bauer-Gottwein1 1Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
2National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, 2800, Denmark
Abstract. High-quality bathymetric maps of inland water bodies are a common requirement for hydraulic engineering and hydrological science applications. Remote sensing methods, e.g. space-borne and airborne multispectral or LIDAR, have been developed to estimate water depth, but are ineffective for most inland water bodies, because of water turbidity and attenuation of electromagnetic radiation in water. Surveys conducted with boats equipped with sonars can retrieve accurate water depths, but are expensive, time-consuming, and are unsuitable for non-navigable water bodies. We develop and assess a novel approach to retrieve accurate and high resolution bathymetry maps. We measured accurate water depths using a tethered floating sonar controlled by an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in a Danish lake and in a few river cross sections. The developed technique combines the advantages of remote sensing techniques with the potential of bathymetric sonars. UAV surveys can be conducted also in non-navigable, inaccessible, or remote water bodies. The tethered sonar can measure bathymetry with an accuracy of ca. 2.1 % of the actual depth for observations up to 35 m, without being significantly affected by water turbidity, bedform or bed material.

Citation: Bandini, F., Olesen, D., Jakobsen, J., Kittel, C. M. M., Wang, S., Garcia, M., and Bauer-Gottwein, P.: Bathymetry observations of inland water bodies using a tethered single-beam sonar controlled by an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-625, in review, 2017.
Filippo Bandini et al.
Filippo Bandini et al.
Filippo Bandini et al.

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Short summary
Water depth observations are essential data to forecast flood hazard, predict sediment transport or monitor in-stream habitats. We retrieved bathymetry with a sonar wired to a drone. This system has the potential to increase the speed and range at which observations are retrieved. Observations can be retrieved also in non-navigable or inaccessible rivers. Water depth observations showed an accuracy of ca. 2.1 % of actual depth, without being affected by water turbidity or bed material.
Water depth observations are essential data to forecast flood hazard, predict sediment...
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