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USGS Hydroacoustics

These pages provide information on hydroacoustic technology for users in the USGS and other agencies. Since the early 1980s the USGS has worked cooperatively with manufacturers to develop and enhance the use of acoustic Doppler instruments for streamflow and other hydraulic measurements. The Hydroacoustics Workgroup and the Hydrologic Networks Branch maintains these web pages to provide updated information on hydroacoustics instruments and their use within the USGS and elsewhere.

What's New?

New Hydroacoustics Webinars Available

Hydroacoustics Webinars are posted on the USGS Hydroacoustics Webinars Page.

HaWG December 2021 Internal Hydroacoustics Newsletter

USGS users - please email the HaWG for access to the newsletter.

SonTek Equipment Affected by Date/Time Reset Bug - *Firmware Fix Available*

An issue was discovered on August 13, 2018 that affects the internal clocks of RiverSurveyor M9/S5, HydroSurveyor, SonTek-SL (3G) and SonTek-IQ systems. If the “Set Time” software feature is enabled to sync the instrument time to the PC time, or to manually enter a different date/time, the clock will reset to January 2005. After that, the internal clock cannot be reset. The issue does not prevent systems from collecting data, but the date/time stamp will not be correct.

SonTek has released firmware that fixes this date/time reset issue.

The USGS has tested a beta version of this firmware release on more than a dozen different instruments. The firmware fixes the time/date reset issue but we have not collected field data to verify that all other features are still working as expected. It is recommended that you download and install the firmware but validate that the instrument is working properly by comparing collected data to some known reference (another ADCP, stable rating, etc.). PC Software updates are NOT required to use the new firmware.

The Most Current, Allowed firmware versions for Sontek instruments affected by this issue can be downloaded from the following links:

RiverSurveyor S5/M9 Firmware

SonTek-SL 3G Firmware

SonTek-IQ Firmware

Note: In order for the firmware to function properly, users must be using RiverSurveyor Live v. 4.0 or greater, SL Software v. 3.0 or greater, and IQ Software version 2.0 or greater.

New Software/Firmware for SonTek SL

The USGS has worked cooperatively with SonTek to improve the SL3G software and firmware. Vesion 3 was release on 6/6/2018 and is now the recommended version. See the list of changes and improvements on the SonTek-SL Software Page.

New Version of VMT

A new version of VMT was released on 7/15/2018. To see the list of changes and improvements and to download the software go to the VMT Software Page. Note: For USGS System Administrators VMT is available via SCCM.

Firmware and Software Pages Updated

The firmware and software pages for Moving-Boat Deployments and Index Velocity have been updated. Several firmware updates will become the Required Minimum on 8/6/2018.

Hydroacoustics Newsletters Available

The Hydroacoustics Workgroup has begun publishing a newsletter to provide updated information to field personnel.
Access Newsletters.
Note: USGS Access Only

Highlighted Podcasts, Recorded Webinars, and other On-Demand Training

Selected Papers of Interest

Estimating the Uncertainty of Streamgauging Techniques Using In Situ Collaborative Interlaboratory Experiments by Le Coz, J., Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, 2016.
Flow in bedrock canyons by Vendetti, J., et. al., Nature, 2014.
Estimating longitudinal dispersion in rivers using Acoustic Doppler Current Profilersby Shen, C., Published in Advances in Water Resources 33 (2010) 615–623.
extrap: Software to assist the selection of extrapolation methods for moving-boat ADCP streamflow measurements by David S. Mueller. Published in Computers & Geosciences, 2013.

Selected topics from the Hydroacoustics Community Forum.

Remote Desktop in the field with portable devices...
Reasonable WinRiver thresholds for a StreamPro
Serial to USB adapters
Best Practices for Collecting Mid-section Discharge Measurements with ADCPs
Index-velocity rating and data synchronization Excel template

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