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Citizen Scientists Flow Measurements
Anusha Pandey, Jeffery Collins Davids, Nischal Devkota, Martine Rutten, Wessel David Van Oyen

Last modified: 2017-08-25


The involvement of citizens in the research design; data collection and analysis; and dissemination of information process together with the scientists on a supportive basis is known as citizen science. Citizen science is an imperative means of combining research with education and employment. Citizen science initiatives have rapidly increased over the past decade due to advancements in sensing technologies, data processing and visualizations, and communication methods. This paper presents a case study of involvement of citizen scientists in collecting flow data. Streamflow is usually collected from velocity-area measurements which rely on sophisticated, highly accurate and expensive equipment like current meters.  However, we investigated three alternative flow measurement methods that would be possible for citizen scientists to repeat: float method, salt dilution, and Bernoulli rise.  These three flow measurement methods were evaluated at 24 locations around the Kathmandu Valley and compared to a standard flow reference from a SonTek FlowTracker Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter.  We found that the salt dilution method is the most accurate over a range of flows and appears to be the most plausible method for citizen scientists to perform flow measurements directly.  We also present preliminary results from the initial pilot tests of combining citizen science with mobile technology to generate streamflow data using salt dilution method.  We further compare the nature and quality of the flow data generated using citizen scientists.

Keywords: citizen scientists; flow measurements; salt dilution

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