High Definition Stream Surveys (HDSS) provide many advantages over traditional transect-based stream surveys. Some of these advantages include:
Better Data: HDSS provides continuous, geo-referenced data regarding river corridor conditions. This eliminates the need to extrapolate conditions from transects and spot data collections.
Faster Data Collection: Automated and continuous data collection using HDSS has proven to be much faster and more accurate than traditional transect survey methods. This allows much larger areas to be sampled over the time budgeted for field work.
Much Higher Value for the Cost: The HDSS method provides a broader array of data than traditional transect surveys. Using HDSS, multiple miles of continuous stream data (i.e., both stream banks, stream bottom, water quality and water quantity, habitat, and geomorphology) can often be collected in the same amount of time that a traditional transect method would take to cover several hundred meters of point data.
Reviewable Results: The HDSS system captures and synchronizes a high definition video of a stream ecosystem with sonar, water quality and other data, and then maps everything to a stream using a geo-referencing process. Users can revisit the results at any time in the future and see what conditions looked like at any point or section of the stream as of the collection date. HDSS data collection is automated, simultaneous, continuous and frequently validated during the collection process. In contrast, traditional survey methods require the repetition of discrete and highly manual data collection steps over multiple sites which increases the likelihood of inconsistent measurements, recording errors, missing or invalid data. Missing a collection step or problems with data validation usually requires additional field work to obtain the information, which can compromise the quality of the overall data set due to differences in stream conditions. Moreover, traditional survey methods do not provide extensive visual representations of a waterway due to limited survey stretches.
Wider Application: HDSS is not a single answer survey. The results can be used to support a wide range of river management applications. In the past, different surveys were often conducted in the same waterway to answer different questions. For example, water quality samples collected at multiple locations in a river system would not provide information about instream habitat or the condition of infrastructure along the river. Inefficient data collection practices boost cost and make integrated management much more difficult. The data collected in a single HDSS survey can support many different types of assessments: streambank erosion susceptibility, habitat, corridor, infrastructure, water quality, water quantity, impact, and others. Thus, HDSS enables collaboration and better water management much more efficiently.
Powerful Visualizations: The HDSS approach provides a powerful, integrated dashboard visualization of your waterway. No longer are survey results explained in confusing charts and statistics that often represent a single metric dissociated from the rest of the survey results. HDSS results show instream conditions in high-definition video, superimposed with other survey data or results, if needed. HDSS is a virtual solution that puts decision-makers “in the field” so they can actually visualize problem areas and gain a better understanding of their relative magnitude and impact.
Increased Collaboration: HDSS promotes collaboration and partnerships by collecting data useful to many organizations with a single survey. Collaboration on data collection across multiple organizations avoids the unnecessary cost of soliciting and managing multiple and often redundant surveys whose results often do not support integrated management.
Integrated Watershed Management: Stream and river systems are influenced by the land and upstream conditions. As a result, managing for a single aspect of the stream is costly and inefficient. The HDSS approach can better align multiple management objectives by collecting core data relevant to all concerns and more specific or customized data for more targeted concerns, all in one survey.
Easy to Integrate with GIS: All HDSS data are continuously geo-referenced: data are synchronized by time and mapped to the particular point in a waterway where it was collected. HDSS data easily integrates into modern Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to allow other spatial data to overlay the HDSS survey results.
Excellent Time-Series Comparisons: The HDSS method collects continuous data along much longer sections of a waterway, which makes it very simple to compare changes in a particular area or multiple different areas over time. In traditional surveys, change observations would be limited to the transect locations.