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Instrumentation: Evaluation of the Dischargeapp: A Smartphone Application for Discharge Measurements

Author(s): Maxence Carrel, Martin Detert, Salvador Peña-Haro, Beat Luethi

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Keywords: DischargeApp; hydrometry; water resource management; smartphone; water flow


The design of optimal policies for water resources management and for flood risks mitigation needs hydrometric quantities such as water level and discharge. In many regions of the world, traditional measurement methods for water levels and discharge are not in use because of their acquisition and maintenance costs. Thus, there is a lack of cost-effective, easy to use and vandalism-free technologies. Smartphone-based applications may close this gap, such as the DischargeApp (, a smartphone-based application water level, surface velocity and discharge in open channels. This paper presents a study that evaluates the DischargeApp to gauge water flow rates at 20–120 L/s in a clear water laboratory flume. In comparison to gauges of a magnetic flow meter the resulting absolute measurement error shows to be ±10 L/s, while for more of 85% of the measurements, the relative error is below 15%. This acceptable error, together with its simplicity and low cost characteristic, rank the DischargeApp as an ideal device for fast measuring of discharges. The DischargeApp has, therefore, the potential to gather useful and much needed hydrometric data in order to globally improve water resources management.


Year: 2019

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