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Hydratools, a MATLAB® based data processing package for Sontek Hydra data

January 1, 2005

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed a set of MATLAB tools to process and convert data collected by Sontek Hydra instruments to netCDF, which is a format used by the USGS to process and archive oceanographic time-series data. The USGS makes high-resolution current measurements within 1.5 meters of the bottom. These data are used in combination with other instrument data from sediment transport studies to develop sediment transport models. Instrument manufacturers provide software which outputs unique binary data formats. Multiple data formats are cumbersome. The USGS solution is to translate data streams into a common data format: netCDF. The Hydratools toolbox is written to create netCDF format files following EPIC conventions, complete with embedded metadata. Data are accepted from both the ADV and the PCADP. The toolbox will detect and remove bad data, substitute other sources of heading and tilt measurements if necessary, apply ambiguity corrections, calculate statistics, return information about data quality, and organize metadata. Standardized processing and archiving makes these data more easily and routinely accessible locally and over the Internet. In addition, documentation of the techniques used in the toolbox provides a baseline reference for others utilizing the data.