Stream Gaging - Boat Mounted ADCP

ADCPs are most frequently used mounted on boats in Iowa. Prior to the acquisition of ADCPs in Iowa, most streamflow measurements in larger rivers were made by suspending equipment over bridges into the stream. ADCPs mounted on boats are quick to set up, safer than measuring streamflow off bridges, and allow for operators to locate better cross sections than what are sometimes found at bridges.

Photo of method for measuring streamflow off bridges

The Iowa Water Science Center has a variety of boats, ranging from 14 ft. to 24 ft., to measure in a variety of situations. In all boats, the ADCP is mounted off the side of the boat on a device that can swing out of the water. Which allows for quick deployment and transport in the river. While measuring the ADCP is suspended just below the water surface.

Photo of ADCP is position for transit Photo of ADCP in water Photo of ADCP mount on 24 ft. boat

The ADCP is operated by an onboard laptop computer, and the data is immediately processed according to USGS policies (full USGS hydroacoustic policies are available at:

Photo of operation of onboard laptop computer

ADCPs mounted on boats have allowed the Iowa USGS to make several flood measurements that may not have been possible in the past because of the speed at which ADCP measurements can be made, and the variety of conditions they can be used in.

Launching the boat with ADCP in the 2001 Mississippi River flood

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