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Using Sonar-based River Depth Measurement for Cross-sectional and Thalweg Profile Mapping

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1009872.(doi:10.13031/2013.30007)
Authors:   Ken Swinson , Paul Ayers
Keywords:   depth, thalweg, cross-section, sonar, GIS, GPS, georeference, UVMS, river mapping, depth profile

Depth is a physical river characteristic that is important for habitat classification, river health analysis, and hydrologic modeling (Fiscor, 2005) (Maddock, 1999). Several different methods have been identified as acceptable ways of measuring river depth depending of the implementation, ranging from wading across a river with a measuring rod to analyzing spectral reflectance on areal imagery. Flug et al. (1998) has shown that sonar depth sensors are an accurate way of measuring river cross-sectional depth when compared to traditional techniques, but further research is necessary. The purpose of this study is to evaluate georeferenced sonar depth measurement accuracy, precision, and response time. Comparing depth measurements to river flow and testing how well a depth sensor can be used to collect cross-sectional data will also be completed. Two sonar depth measuring devices will be analyzed; a CruzPro ATU120S Shallow Water Active Depth Transducer and a Lowrance LMS-350A Sonar Unit (CruzPro, 2009) (Lowrance, 2008). The analysis will be done with proposed lab tests and several sonar depth data collections that have already been assembled.

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