For many use cases, a user may require to extract velocities over a certain transect. The most famous application for this is measuring river flow. pyorc is equipped with very smart approaches to extract a transect, interpolate missing values that may appear on the transect, and extracting cross-section cubic meter per second river flow estimates with confidence intervals based on temporal variations in velocities. It is highly recommended to consider applying masks on your results before extracting velocities and flow over transects.

Extracting a transect#

The starting point for a transect is always a velocimetry result, containing surface velocities, gridded in space and time and a set of coordinates of a cross section, measured in the same coordinate reference system as the ground control points and using also the same vertical datum as the measurement of the control video water level (z_0 in the camera configuration).

Transects can be derived by supplying a transect section in your recipe. Under this section, one or several transects can be derived, by supplying the path to a shapefile or geojson file, that contains x, y, z Point coordinates of the measured cross section as well as the coordinate reference system of the coordinates. Any metadata or properties are not used. These files are typical outputs of GNSS equipment and can one on one be passed onto pyorc unless you wish to remove some wrong points, or points that belong to another survey.

The approach is best explained with an example transect section for one transect, with some comments

# we start our transect section
    # extracted transects will be written to disk
    write: True
    # we have measured one cross section in the Ngwerere river in Lusaka - Zambia
        # path to the shapefile or geojson, containing our points
        shapefile: ../examples/ngwerere/cross_section1.geojson
        # supply some extra arguments to get_transect (if not provided, defaults will be used)
            # we do a rolling mean over time to smooth out small fps changes of the camera
            rolling: 4
            # we sample velocity by averaging in a one-sided window size of 2 (5x5)
            wdw: 2
        # let's derive depth integrated velocity also
            # we fill missing with a log interpolation method
            fill_method: log_interp
            # assume depth averaged velocity is 0.85 * surface velocity
            v_corr: 0.85
        # integrate to m3/s river flow without additional arguments

If get_transect is not supplied in the command-line recipe then default parameters will be used. When write: True is provided, the resulting extracted velocities and flow will be written to a file in the output folder. This file will have the following naming convention: transect_<name>.nc. From the example above the file would be called

You may load x, y, z points from a shapefile or csv file with pandas or geopandas. Then these can be supplied with a velocimetry result, using the get_transect method. Below a full working example is given, based on our Ngwerere example dataset.

cross_section = pd.read_csv("ngwerere/ngwerere_cross_section.csv")
# the points are assigned to numpy arrays, coordinates are in crs 32735
x = cross_section["x"]
y = cross_section["y"]
z = cross_section["z"]

# extract points, ensuring pyorc knows their projection is 32735.
ds_points = ds.velocimetry.get_transect(x, y, z, crs=32735, rolling=4)
# add depth averaged velocity, filling missings and assuming a average velocity / surface velocity of 0.85
ds_points_q = ds_points.transect.get_q(fill_method="log_interp", v_corr: 0.85)
# finally, obtain cross sectional river flow (added as variable ["river_flow"])

The get_transect method derives the transect from our gridded velocimetry results. Many options may be supplied to improve sampling. For instance, if flow has a highly predominant direction, then it makes sense to increase sampling over a longer longitudinal window, and reduce sampling in perpendicular direction. This can be controlled by arguments wdw_x_min, wdw_x_max, wdw_y_min and wdw_y_max. There are also options to refine or coarsen the sampling interval over space (distance) as well as an option to discard values if not enough valid (i.e. non masked) values in the sampled neighbourhood are found (tolerance). For a full list of parameters, please investigate the API documentation. get_q and get_river_flow are not mandatory to use, but recommended if river flow is the required variable of interest. Since river flow requires estimates of velocities without any gaps, fill methods are available that can be applied before the depth averaged velocity is derived. The relevant API pages that describe the possible input arguments for both are described here. Stored results in a NetCDF structure will contain the following variables:

  • v_eff_nofill: the effective velocities per point in the cross section [m/s]

  • v_eff: if get_q is supplied, this will contain velocities, with gaps filled with a selected filling method within the get_q method.

  • v_dir: the direction of the velocity per point in the cross section determined as the perpendicular direction of the supplied cross section. Note that if the cross section is not entirely straight, this may vary from point to point.

  • q_nofill: depth integrated velocity [m2/s], using a correction factor supplied with v_corr (default: 0.9)

  • q: same as v_eff but then for depth integrated velocity.

  • river_flow: available when both get_q and get_river_flow are applied. This variable contains the river flow in m3/s.

In the processing to transects, the time dimension will be replaced by a quantile dimension. By default 5 quantiles are derived (0.05, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, and 0.95) for each point in the transect based on the time variability of the extracted velocities. These quantiles allow you to estimate the variance of the velocities. A very high variance may indicate more uncertainty. Note that this variance is also integrated into the river_flow variable, assuming the variability is entirely correlated in space. This is likely not to be true, especially if variances are caused by remaining variability in the frames-per-second of the camera, hence the confidence intervals of the river_flow variable should be interpreted as highly conservative.