Robust Image-Based Streamflow Measurements for Real-Time Continuous Monitoring

The volumetric flow rate in rivers is essential to analyze hydrological processes and at the same time it is one of the most difficult variables to measure. Image based discharge measurements possess several advantages, one of them being that the sensor (camera) is not in contact with the water, it can be placed safe of floods, its mounting position is very flexible and there is no need of expensive structures/constructions.

During the last years several image-based methods for measuring the surface velocity in rivers and canals have been proposed and successfully tested under different conditions. However, these methods have been used and configured to perform well under the particular conditions of a single recording or single site. The objective of this paper is to present a system which has reached a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 9. The system is able to measure the volumetric flow under different conditions day and night and all year long, the system is able to perform in rivers or canals of different sizes and flow velocities and under different conditions of visibility. In addition, the system is capable of measuring the river stage optically without the need of a stage, but it can also integrate external level sensor. Important for a wide set of customers, the system must be able to interface with the various common signal input and output standards, such as 4–20 mAmp, modbus, SDI-12, ZRXP, and even with customer specific formats. Additionally, the developed technology can be implemented as an edge or as a cloud system. The cloud system only needs a camera with Internet connection to send videos to the cloud where they are processed, while the edge systems have a processing unit installed at the site where the processing is done. This paper presents the key aspects needed to move from prototype with TRL5-7 and lower toward the presented field proven system with a TRL 9...

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