A novel permanent gauge-cam station for surface-flow observations on the Tiber River
Abstract. Flow monitoring of riverine environments is crucial for hydrology and hydraulic engineering practice. Besides few experimental implementations, flow gauging relies on local water level and surface-flow velocity measurements through ultrasonic meters and radars. In this paper, we describe a novel permanent gauge-cam station for large-scale and continuous observation of surface flows, based on remote acquisition and calibration of video data. Located on the Tiber River, in the center of Rome, Italy, the station captures 1 min videos every 10 min over an area oriented along the river cross section of up to 20.6 × 15.5 m2. In a feasibility study, we demonstrate that accurate surface-flow velocity estimations can be obtained by analyzing experimental images via particle tracking velocimetry (PTV). In medium illumination conditions (70–75 lux), PTV leads to velocity estimations in close agreement with radar records and is less affected by uneven lighting than large-scale particle image velocimetry. Future efforts will be devoted to the development of a comprehensive test bed infrastructure for investigating the potential of multiple optics-based approaches for surface hydrology.