Remotely Sensed Discharge

Science Center Objects

River discharge is an important component of the water cycle, and an accurate accounting of streamflow can be accomplished by monitoring the spatial and temporal variations in river discharge. The U.S. Geological Survey is actively pursuing remote-sensing platforms to compute river discharge using a combination of satellite-, high altitude-, drone-, and fixed-based platforms to directly measure river width, hydraulic grade, and velocity. QCam is a Doppler (velocity) radar, which is mounted on a 3DR™ Solo drone and measures the along-track river surface-water velocity by spot dwelling at prescribed heights over the river channel.

Field trials were conducted on the South Platte and Arkansas Rivers in Colorado and the Salcha and Tanana Rivers in Alaska.

These platforms coupled with efficient algorithms have the potential to revolutionize streamflow measurements.


UAS discharge measurement Tanana River Train Bridge AK

Velocity radar mounted on drone as remote sensing platform to determine discharge on the Tanana River, AK.  Discharge measurements from drone were compared to ADCP measurement.