This paper presents a systematic procedure for developing a characterization and classification of river reaches inspired by the River Styles Framework, through which insight can be gained about the understanding of river behavior. Our procedure takes advantage of several computer based “tools”, i.e., algorithms implemented in software packages of various types, from “simple” Excel sheets to sophisticated algorithms in Python language, in general all supported by Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The main potentially useful, existing tools for this specific aim are discussed here, revealing their strengths and weaknesses. New, complementary or alternative tools that have been developed in the project feeding this paper are presented, which can contribute to the scientific community and stakeholders of the topic. The main result of our research is a structured and practical guide (a ToolBox Manual) that can support practitioners and researchers wishing to characterize and classify large rivers, based on the River Styles Framework. The main contribution is that this set of ideas, solutions, and tools, makes this type of exercise significantly more transparent and at the same time much less subjective. Moreover, the procedure is applicable to large systems and does not require more information than that generally available also in developing or emerging countries.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited