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The USGS measures stream flows since they are critical for long-term tracking and modeling/forecasting to ensure that federal water priorities and responsibilities can be met and that the nation’s rivers canbe effectively managed. Recently, the USGS has been looking at non-contact methods of collection this data which would allow USGS scientists to gather data more safely and possibly without even going in to the field. One such method is large-scale particle image velocimetry (LS-PIV). LS-PIV is a special case of algorithms that perform optical flow; at its is a cross correlation operation which is expensive in both time complexity and energy usage. My peers and I optimize the PIV algorithm to run on a 32-bit embedded microcontroller that can quickly and accurately perform the PIV computation and have a battery life of up to 2 years.

Embedded LS-PIV semester project poster