Flow monitoring with a camera: a case study on a flood event in the Tiber River

F. Tauro, G. Olivieri, A. Petroselli, M. Porfiri, S. Grimaldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monitoring surface water velocity during flood events is a challenging task. Techniques based on deploying instruments in the flow are often unfeasible due to high velocity and abundant sediment transport. A low-cost and versatile technology that provides continuous and automatic observations is still not available. Among remote methods, large-scale particle image velocimetry (LSPIV) is an optical method that computes surface water velocity maps from videos recorded with a camera. Here, we implement and critically analyze findings obtained from a recently introduced LSPIV experimental configuration during a flood event in the Tiber River at a cross section located in the center of Rome, Italy. We discuss the potential of LSPIV observations in challenging environmental conditions by presenting results from three tests performed during the hydrograph flood peak and recession limb of the event for different illumination and weather conditions. The obtained surface velocity maps are compared to the rating curve velocity and to benchmark velocity values. Experimental findings show that optical methods should be preferred in extreme conditions. However, their practical implementation may be associated with further hurdles and uncertainties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Camera observations
  • Flow measurement
  • Flow monitoring
  • Flow velocity
  • Large-scale particle image velocimetry
  • Surface flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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