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WaterCube is here to help you successfully plan for and collect the data required for a WaterCube project. Field data should always be collected by skilled operators using the correct instruments, the proper field measurement techniques, and under the proper flow conditions. This ensures the most reliable, repeatable, and robust results; it also maximizes the value and benefit of the WaterCube processing.

WaterCube personnel will be glad to help you plan every part of the field survey based on your project goals; we can also assist directly with the field data collection.

• We have years of extensive data collection experience in rivers and reservoirs of all shapes, sizes, and conditions from around the world.

• We are here to help you be successful and can provide one-on-one guidance every step of the way. This includes planning, instrument selection, minimizing the risks associated with lost and/or poor data, and maximizing results from the resources that are available.

• For anyone undertaking their first WaterCube project, we encourage you to work directly with WaterCube personnel for training and the initial data collection period(s). The added effort up front will greatly improve the quality of your results.

Data Collection Tips (Download Tip Sheet in PDF Format)



Boat selection

Consider a combination of motorized boats and smaller platforms, like kayaks or remote controlled boat.  This can improve access to river edges, and allow flexibility in areas that need more detailed data collection.  Smaller boats can be loaded onto large boats for transport back to the start of the data collection area for increased efficiency.

Remote controlled boats

Although remote controlled boats have a somewhat high up-front cost, they can greatly increase the efficiency of data collection.  The improved efficiency can more than offset their cost of operation.


Consider investing in navigation tools that allow you to plan and follow a predetermined set of lines.  This ensures data is collected in exactly the locations that were planned.

Water level monitoring

Locate and acquire data from any nearby flow monitoring stations that record time series of water level and/or flow rate.  If no appropriate data is available, consider establishing a temporary station to monitor water level during the data collection project.
Be sure to note the location and elevation of any reference stations used.

Discharge data

Collect discharge measurement at least at the start and end of the data collection period.  If tributaries are present, be sure to collect measurements at sufficient locations to document their contribution to the total flow.

Line spacing

Plan line spacing to provide the data needed to resolve key features in study area.  8-12 parallel downstream transects are typical.  Higher resolution can be used in specific “sub-cube” area to improve resolution.

Line location

Make sure that there are at least two transect lines as close as possible to the river edges.  These transects can become difficult to collect because of shallow depths and/or obstructions so care must be taken to find the correct distance away from the bank to maximize the coverage.

Line location

Avoid “zig-zag” track patterns during the survey.  It is better and more efficient to collect data either parallel to flow and along perpendicular cross-sections.

Line extent

Begin and end a main cube survey beyond the planned survey start and end points.  This will always ensure that data is captured within the survey section of interest.

Line direction

Collect the along-stream transects while traversing downstream to minimize the potential for flow disturbance below the ADCP transducer.  While data can be collected traversing in the upstream direction to save time, this required extra care to avoid reducing data quality.

ADCP file size

Limit ADCP/GPS file duration to 20-30 minutes. 

ADCP data collection

Turn ADCP/GPS data collection off when data is invalid (i.e. shallow depth, obstructions, loss of GPS) to avoid additional data editing efforts.

ADCP data review

Make sure to always have a set of trained “eyes” looking at the ADCP/GPS data while it is being collected.