Collecting Data at a Station Using SonTek RSSL (Open Water)

Video Transcript
Download Video
Right-click and save to download

Detailed Description

In this video we will outline the process of collecting an open water station in the SonTek RSSL software. Note: Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the USGS. For additional videos in this series, visit the following link:


Date Taken:

Length: 00:02:41

Location Taken: Augusta, ME, US


Hi my name is Nick Stasulis and I work with the Maine Office of the New England Water Science Center. In this video we will outline the process of collecting an open water station in the SonTek RSSL software.

Immediately after you enter the edge information this dialog will appear that allows you to enter information associated with your first station. First, enter the distance from the initial point, which is essentially your distance from shore. You can also enter the distance between stations. Either way, ensure the location agrees with the location noted on your tagline, bridge or cableway marking. For open water measurements, ensure the Open Water water surface type is selected. You will notice the ice information is grayed out as it is not applicable.

Next, enter the depth of the transducer below the water surface, which is measured from the bottom of the ADCP transducer face, at the vertical beam. The use of user input water depth, the velocity correction factor and the island edge option will be discussed in separate videos outlining the process of entering a manual station and dealing with invalid depths.

Ensure a screening distance is entered here, which is equal to the transducer depth  plus 0.52 ft. If the USGS screening feature was selected during software installation this will happen automatically. In this case our screening distance is equal to 0.72 ft as our transducer depth is 0.2 ft.

For coordinate system, most open water measurements will use ENU to utilize the ADCP’s compass for automated angle correction. When using ENU, it is important to confirm the angles reported by the software are in line with your observations in the river. XYZ requires the ADCP be held at a fixed orientation to the tagline, which is not practical for most open water deployments. A separate video in this series will discuss angle correction in more detail.

The default averaging time of 40 seconds should be used, though you may consider increasing this value in cases where you are getting intermittent invalid data.

Gage height information can be entered here, as well as the time the gage height was read. While there is an option to edit extrapolation methods here, those methods will usually be reviewed and applied during playback, a process described in a separate video in this series.

If you are ready to end a measurement and enter ending edge information, select the End Edge button here. Once all fields are populated correctly, and you are sure that you are getting a reasonable number of valid depth cells and otherwise reasonable data, hit the Measure button, or select Enter to begin data collection.