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Accuracy of crowdsourced streamflow and stream level class estimates


Strobl, Barbara; Etter, Simon; van Meerveld, H J; Seibert, Jan (2020). Accuracy of crowdsourced streamflow and stream level class estimates. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 65(5):823-841.

Abstract

Streamflow data are important for river management and the calibration of hydrological models. However, such data are only available for gauged catchments. Citizen science offers an alternative data source, and can be used to estimate streamflow at ungauged sites. We evaluated the accuracy of crowdsourced streamflow estimates for 10 streams in Switzerland by asking citizens to estimate streamflow either directly, or based on the estimated width, depth and velocity of the stream. Additionally, we asked them to estimate the stream level class by comparing the current stream level with a picture that included a virtual staff gauge. To compare the different estimates, the stream level class estimates were converted into streamflow. The results indicate that stream level classes were estimated more accurately than streamflow, and more accurately represented high and low flow conditions. Based on this result, we suggest that citizen science projects focus on stream level class estimates instead of streamflow estimates.

Abstract

Streamflow data are important for river management and the calibration of hydrological models. However, such data are only available for gauged catchments. Citizen science offers an alternative data source, and can be used to estimate streamflow at ungauged sites. We evaluated the accuracy of crowdsourced streamflow estimates for 10 streams in Switzerland by asking citizens to estimate streamflow either directly, or based on the estimated width, depth and velocity of the stream. Additionally, we asked them to estimate the stream level class by comparing the current stream level with a picture that included a virtual staff gauge. To compare the different estimates, the stream level class estimates were converted into streamflow. The results indicate that stream level classes were estimated more accurately than streamflow, and more accurately represented high and low flow conditions. Based on this result, we suggest that citizen science projects focus on stream level class estimates instead of streamflow estimates.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Water Science and Technology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Water Science and Technology
Language:English
Date:3 April 2020
Deposited On:17 May 2019 09:19
Last Modified:01 May 2021 00:00
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0262-6667
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/02626667.2019.1578966
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID200021_163008
  • : Project TitleCrowd-based data collection for hydrology and water resources research (CrowdWater)

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