I’m starting a new series of posts for those of you, like me, that (for better or worse) are smartphone and tablet users. More often than not these days, there are a few participants in my Extension workshops taking notes on their iPads*. And smartphones…well, with nearly half of all U.S. adults owning a smartphone, they are a fact of life.

There’s an app for just about everything, including forestry and natural resources. I thought I’d share some of the apps that I’ve found useful, starting with this post. A caveat – I have an iPhone 4 (sorry Android users) so can’t download some recent app versions only compatible with Androids or iPhone 5, or other devices.

With much of western Oregon under a flood watch today, let’s look at a couple of apps that allow you to monitor your local river levels. The one that I like is FloodWatch. It pulls in real-time data from USGS stream gages, including stream height, rainfall totals, and allows the user to compare to flood stages.

Another similar app is River Data. This one presents the actual charts from the USGS, and though it is not as user friendly in my opinion, there is lots more data. With this app you can also access water quality data like temperature, turbidity from some gages.

It’s interesting to compare the trends over the past 7 days from some of our local watersheds of varying sizes. What can these hydrographs tell you about the differences in these river systems? (Click on the image to enlarge it.) If unfamiliar with hydrographs, time is charted on the horizontal axis and the water data (in this case, river height) is on the vertical.

Do you have a favorite natural resources related app? Send me your suggestions for future posts…or better yet, send me your own review.

*Let’s hope they were taking notes, and not playing Angry Birds…

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One thought on “There’s an App for that #1: River monitoring

  1. Amy,
    Thanks for sharing this info. For the Android users there is an App called RiverFlows available on the Google Play site. It’s pretty basic but it access USGS and AHPS gauges.


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