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Flight #1 – April 26, 2015

Iowa River – Lone Tree

  • First site
  • River was much lower on Google Earth
  • Good landmarks that lined up with the pictures
  • Most accurate drawing


  • 11:15am
  • Discharge = 5,860 ft^3/s
  • Stage = 9.67 ft



English River – Kalona

  • Second site visited
  • Same levels as on Google Earth
  • Tree cover limited view of shorelines on Google Earth
  • Not many landmarks – using bridge supports in pictures as references didn’t work because they can’t be seen on Google Earth


  • 12:15pm
  • Discharge = 1,930 ft^3/s
  • Stage = 9.97 ft





Old Man’s Creek – Iowa City

  • Third site visited
  • Recently built bridge – messed up view on Google Earth
  • River isn’t the same now as it was on Google Earth
  • Previous satellite images exist with old bridge but the river was shaped differently
  • Still a fairly accurate outline
  • Same problem with landmarks as the previous site


  • 1:00pm
  • Discharge = 245 ft^3/s
  • Stage = 4.71 ft





Clear Creek – Coralville

  • Fourth and final site of the day
  • River was very close to Google Earth levels
  • Tree cover was limiting factor on both Google Earth and drone pictures
  • Still fairly accurate drawing


  • 1:45
  • Discharge = 97 ft^3/s
  • Stage = 2.47 ft




Today’s Conclusion:

This procedure definitely has potential to track flood levels. Higher water levels will make it easier to find landmarks to mark the outline of the levels, so many of the problems we experienced today won’t be as much of an issue. Google Earth definitely has limitations, but it looks like it will work pretty well. Tree cover takes off a level of accuracy, and flying over trees during a flood would definitely make it very difficult to find the water line, let alone notable landmarks. The opacity setting on Google Earth is very useful because it allows you to kind of see what is underwater.

Last modified on August 26th, 2015
Posted on August 25th, 2015