Measuring Water Levels by Handheld Smartphones – A contribution to exploit crowdsourcing in the spatio temporal densification of water gauging networks

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleInvitedpeer-review



Global climate change leads to an increase in local heavy rainfall events causing nearly unpredictable flash floods worldwide. This paper introduces a novel and flexible low-cost water gauging technology, called Open Water Levels, using smartphones as low-cost measuring devices enabling the crowdsourcing of water levels on demand with accuracies of a few centimetres. This merely requires smartphone camera images of a riverbank and approximate values of the camera position and rotation measured by smartphone sensors. The images are analysed for the water line that is further projected into object space and intersected with a 3D model, e.g. from a GIS database, to derive water level information.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-22
Number of pages14
Journal International hydrographic review / spons. by the International Hydrographic Bureau, IHB
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022

External IDs

Mendeley ec19e211-b53c-31fa-bd0b-b81d5b4f6de0
ORCID /0000-0003-2169-8762/work/142244767



  • smartphone application, image processing, Photogrammetry, flood event, water level measurement, low-cost, crowdsourcing