Expanding Accurate and Efficient Use o f ADCP Data through the Development of Standards

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The use of acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) for measuring streamflow and stream velocities has become common in most hydrologic agencies and the private sector. Instruments for performing these measurements are available from multiple manufacturers; however, the supplied software used to collect and process the data do not use consistent algorithms. Similarly, the data are not stored in a common format and the format of the original unprocessed data is not always made public, limiting the use of the data.

The Office of Management and Budget issued memorandum M-13-13 on May 9, 2013 stating, “Specifically, this Memorandum requires agencies to collect or create information in a way that supports downstream information processing and dissemination activities." This and associated directives require the Federal Government to transform data and information into useable and accessible formats.
The U.S. Geological Survey, Office of Surface Water has developed software to post-process moving-boat ADCP measurements to improve quality and apply consistent algorithms independent of the instrument manufacturer and software used to collect the data. This initial development is serving as a starting point for establishing international standards for both processing algorithms and data file formats. The establishment of standard processing algorithms and the development of a data file format using an existing self-documenting format such as NetCDF will enable consistent, efficient, and expanded use of the data independent of the ADCP used to collect the data. Developing these international standards will require the cooperation of other federal and international agencies and equipment manufacturers.  

Presented by: 

David Mueller, USGS

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