Link to USGS home USGS Home
Contact USGS
Search USGS
OSW 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?

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 firmware can be downloaded from SonTek's website using the following links:

RiverSurveyor S5/M9 Firmware

SonTek-SL 3G Firmware

SonTek-IQ Firmware

Note From SonTek: "The newly released firmware versions listed above should be used in conjunction with the latest software versions. For the IQ (v2.1) and SL3G (v3.0), users will encounter a firmware alert message each time they connect to their system. This message (shown in the firmware release notes) is triggered because the software and firmware version numbers no longer match after upgrading the instrument firmware. The data you collect with the new firmware will not be compromised in any way and it is safe to ignore this warning until the next software release. SonTek is planning to release new software versions for both the IQ and SL3G later in 2018 which will remove the firmware warnings."

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.

DCP Script Repository!

Configuring a DCP to communicate with an ADVM and log all the desired variables can be confusing and time consuming. The HaWG has created a repository where field personnel can share scripts they have used to configure DCPs to communicate and log ADVM data. Please share your scripts and search the repository before writing a new script to see if that problem has already been solved. Note: While the primary focus is on scripts supporting ADVM use, you are encouraged to share any script you think would be useful to others.
Click HERE access the DCP Script Repository

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

Recent Podcasts and Recorded Webinars and other On-Demand Training

Submit Hydroacoustic Comparison Measurements (USGS login required)

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

NOTE: You must be a registered member to view the posts. Register now and join the discussion. Detailed instructions on registering can be found at