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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-289
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-289
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Technical note 25 Jun 2019

Technical note | 25 Jun 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Flow velocity and discharge measurement in rivers using terrestrial and UAV imagery

Anette Eltner1, Hannes Sardemann1, and Jens Grundmann2 Anette Eltner et al.
  • 1Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Technsiche Universität Dresden, Dresden, 01069, Germany
  • 2Institute of Hydrology, Technsiche Universität Dresden, Dresden, 01069, Germany

Abstract. An automatic workflow to measure surface flow velocities in rivers is introduced, including a Python tool. The method is based on PTV and comprises an automatic definition of the search area for particles to track. Tracking is performed in the original images. Only the final tracks are geo-referenced, intersecting the image observations with water surface in object space. Detected particles and corresponding feature tracks are filtered considering particle and flow characteristics to mitigate the impact of sun glare and outliers. The method can be applied to different perspectives, including terrestrial and aerial (i.e. UAV) imagery. To account for camera movements images can be co-registered in an automatic approach. In addition to velocity estimates, discharge is calculated using the surface velocities and wetted cross-section derived from surface models computed with structure-from-motion and multi-media photogrammetry. The workflow is tested at two river reaches (paved and natural) in Germany. Reference data is provided by ADCP measurements. At the paved river reach highest deviations of flow velocity and discharge reach 5 % and 4 %, respectively. At the natural river deviations are larger (up to 31 %) due to the irregular cross-section shapes hindering accurate contrasting of ADCP- and image-based results. The provided tool enables the measurement of surface flow velocities independently of the perspective from which images are acquired. With the contact-less measurement spatially distributed velocity fields can be estimated and river discharge in previously ungauged and unmeasured regions can be calculated.

Anette Eltner et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: open (until 20 Aug 2019)
Status: open (until 20 Aug 2019)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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  • RC1: 'Review', Salvatore Manfreda, 19 Jul 2019 Printer-friendly Version
Anette Eltner et al.
Data sets

Dataset (video sequences and orientation information) to measure river surface flow velocities A. Eltner https://doi.org/10.25532/OPARA-32

Anette Eltner et al.
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Short summary
An automatic workflow is introduced to measure surface flow velocities in rivers. The provided tool enables the measurement of spatially distributed surface flow velocities independently of the image acquisition perspective. Furthermore, the study illustrates how river discharge in previously ungauged and unmeasured regions can be retrieved, considering the image-based flow velocities and digital elevation models of the studied river reach reconstructed with UAV-photogrammetry.
An automatic workflow is introduced to measure surface flow velocities in rivers. The provided...
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