Committee on Experimental Methods and Instrumentation


The mission of the Experimental Methods and Instrumentation Committee (EMI) is to promote new experimental methods, instruments, measurement techniques, and data analysis routines for both laboratory and field hydro-environment studies as well as to coordinate international activities in this dynamic area. Because of the diversity of measured hydraulic parameters and flow situations, a wide variety of methods and instruments have been developed. The advanced state-of-the-art instrumentation is followed by increasing expectations for data acquisition, which in turn results in the necessity of increased atomization of data collection and improvement of handling and processing of large data sets.

With respect to laboratory systems, special emphasis is given to the development of new capabilities for studying fundamental hydraulic phenomena and their interactions with other associated environmental processes such as aquatic ecosystem functioning. The central focus is on non-intrusive methods such as methods employing acoustic and optically-based instruments.

With respect to field systems, EMI activities emphasize design and implementation of multi-process and multi-scale observational and experimental studies, employing both remote and in-situ measurement techniques. Such studies incorporate the most advanced instruments connected in real-time data acquisition networks that can be linked to data models and numerical simulation tools, to underpin resource management policies.

To enhance implementation of new measurement technologies into research and practice, EMI continues its efforts in linking manufacturers, designers, and users (scientists and monitoring agencies).

Research Agenda

Laboratory systems: Despite the need for robust and inexpensive hydraulic laboratory equipment, development efforts currently focus on developing tools to analyse fundamental hydraulic behaviour and their interactions with other associated environmental processes such as aquatic ecosystem functioning. This leads to the development of more accurate methods and instruments to analyse new properties.

Systems for field measurements: Despite the fact that more accurate instruments and methods are also needed in the field to analyse new properties, the main goal is to develop systems that are economical and robust.

Installation of data-acquisition equipment in the field: For almost all major river systems in the world, only insufficient data on their water resource and flow-behaviour exists. The missing data may be quite basic in developing countries or very specific in high industrialised nations (pollution, flood insurance problems, etc.). The operation and maintenance of reliable measuring stations need improvement. The cost of continuous data-acquisition needed for this type of data can become prohibitive. Authorities undertake great efforts to automate the measurement, transmission and analysis of water resources data.

The IAHR-Committee on Experimental Methods and Instrumentation provides an important link between manufacturer and users of these instruments. Particular action is needed in the testing of instruments, a field in which a new system of data-exchange should be set-up in the future. EMI offers a platform to distribute ideas for new solutions and knowledge about such instruments and methods. Efforts to establish the position of IAHR as a contributor to the efforts of international standardisation are being undertaken, based on the world-wide activities of the organisation.

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