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U.S. Geological Survey Real-Time River Data Applications

October 1, 2001

Real-time river data provided by the USGS originate from streamflow-gaging stations. The USGS operates and maintains a network of more than 7,000 such stations across the nation (Mason and Wieger, 1995). These gaging stations, used to produce records of stage and streamflow data, are operated in cooperation with local, state, and other federal agencies. The USGS office in Indianapolis operates a statewide network of more than 170 gaging stations. The instrumentation at USGS gaging stations monitors and records river information, primarily river stage (fig. 1). As technological advances are made, many USGS gaging stations are being retrofitted with electronic instrumentation to monitor and record river data. Electronic instrumentation facilitates transmission of real-time or near real-time river data for use by government agencies in such flood-related tasks as operating flood-control structures and ordering evacuations.