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Article

Discharge Estimation with the Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Hydraulic Methods in Shallow Rivers

1
Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, 15780 Athens, Greece
2
Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, 19013 Anavyssos, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Chang Huang
Water 2021, 13(20), 2808; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202808
Received: 20 August 2021 / Revised: 30 September 2021 / Accepted: 4 October 2021 / Published: 9 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Smart Technologies in Water Resources Management)
Although river discharge is essential hydrologic information, it is often absent, especially for small rivers and remote catchment areas. Practical difficulties frequently impede the installation and operation of gauging stations, while satellite-sensed data have proved to be relatively useful only for discharge estimation of large-scale rivers. In this study, we propose a new methodology based on UAV-sensed data and photogrammetry techniques combined with empirical hydraulic equations for discharge estimation. In addition, two different riverbed particle size distributions were incorporated, to study the effect of fine sediment inclusion (or exclusion) in the estimation process. Accordingly, 17 study sites were selected and six different approaches were applied in each. Results show that at 75% of sites at least one approach produced an accurate discharge estimation, while in 10 out the 17 sites (58.8%) all six approaches produced accurate estimations. A strong correlation between a threshold value for the hydraulic radius (Rh = 0.3 m) of cross-sections and high estimation errors for sites exceeding it was also observed. The fine sediment inclusion improved only the performance of certain approaches and did not have a consistently positive effect. Overall, the relatively high percentage of sites with satisfactory discharge estimates indicates that using UAV-derived data and simple hydraulic equations can be used for this purpose, with an acceptable level of accuracy. View Full-Text
Keywords: unmanned aerial vehicles; remote sensing; discharge estimation; shallow rivers; fine sediment; particle size distribution; manning; Pix4D; basegrain unmanned aerial vehicles; remote sensing; discharge estimation; shallow rivers; fine sediment; particle size distribution; manning; Pix4D; basegrain
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lagogiannis, S.; Dimitriou, E. Discharge Estimation with the Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Hydraulic Methods in Shallow Rivers. Water 2021, 13, 2808. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202808

AMA Style

Lagogiannis S, Dimitriou E. Discharge Estimation with the Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Hydraulic Methods in Shallow Rivers. Water. 2021; 13(20):2808. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202808

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lagogiannis, Sergios, and Elias Dimitriou. 2021. "Discharge Estimation with the Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Hydraulic Methods in Shallow Rivers" Water 13, no. 20: 2808. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202808

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