Fully remote surface flow measurements are crucial for flow monitoring during floods and in difficult-to-access areas. Recently, optics-based surface flow monitoring has been enabled through a permanent gauge-cam station on the Tiber River, Rome, Italy. Therein, a system of lasers and an internet protocol camera equipped with two optical modules afford video acquisitions of the river surface every 10 minutes. In this work, we establish a standard video-processing protocol by analyzing more than 10 Gb of footage data captured during low discharge regime from May 2nd to 11th, 2015, through particle tracking velocimetry (PTV). We show that good image-based velocity data can be obtained throughout the day – from 6 am to 8 pm – despite the challenging experimental settings (direct sunlight illumination, mirror-like river surface, and overlying bridge shadow). Further, we demonstrate that images captured with a 27° angle of view optical sensor lead to average velocity measurements in agreement with available radar data. Consistent with similar optical methods, PTV is not applicable in case of adverse illumination and at night; however, it is more robust for dishomogeneous distributions of floaters in the field of view.

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