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Detecting temporal change in land-surface altitude using robotic land-surveying techniques and geographic information system applications at an earthen dam site in Southern Westchester County, New York

Open-File Report 2017-1028

Prepared in cooperation with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection
By:
ORCID iD and ORCID iD
https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171028

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Abstract

In 2005, the U.S. Geological Survey began a cooperative study with New York City Department of Environmental Protection to characterize the local groundwater-flow system and identify potential sources of seeps on the southern embankment at the Hillview Reservoir in southern Westchester County, New York. Monthly site inspections at the reservoir indicated an approximately 90-square-foot depression in the land surface directly upslope from a seep that has episodically flowed since 2007. In July 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey surveyed the topography of land surface in this depression area by collecting high-accuracy (resolution less than 1 inch) measurements. A point of origin was established for the topographic survey by using differentially corrected positional data collected by a global navigation satellite system. Eleven points were surveyed along the edge of the depression area and at arbitrary locations within the depression area by using robotic land-surveying techniques. The points were surveyed again in March 2012 to evaluate temporal changes in land-surface altitude. Survey measurements of the depression area indicated that the land-surface altitude at 8 of the 11 points decreased beyond the accepted measurement uncertainty during the 44 months from July 2008 to March 2012. Two additional control points were established at stable locations along Hillview Avenue, which runs parallel to the embankment. These points were measured during the July 2008 survey and measured again during the March 2012 survey to evaluate the relative accuracy of the altitude measurements. The relative horizontal and vertical (altitude) accuracies of the 11 topographic measurements collected in March 2012 were ±0.098 and ±0.060 feet (ft), respectively. Changes in topography at 8 of the 11 points ranged from 0.09 to 0.63 ft and topography remained constant, or within the measurement uncertainty, for 3 of the 11 points.

Two cross sections were constructed through the depression area by using land-surface altitude data that were interpolated from positional data collected during the two topographic surveys. Cross section A–A′ was approximately 8.5 ft long and consisted of three surveyed points that trended north to south across the depression. Land-surface altitude change decreased along the entire north-south trending cross section during the 44 months, and ranged from 0.2 to more than 0.6 ft. In general, greater land-surface altitude change was measured north of the midpoint as compared to south of the midpoint of the cross section. Cross section B–B′ was 18 ft long and consisted of six surveyed points that trended east to west across the depression. Land-surface altitude change generally decreased or remained constant along the east-west trending cross section during the 44 months and ranged from 0.0 to 0.3 ft. Volume change of the depression area was calculated by using a three-dimensional geographic information system utility that subtracts interpolated surfaces. The results indicated a net volume loss of approximately 38 ±5 cubic feet of material from the depression area during the 44 months.

Suggested Citation

Noll, M.L., and Chu, Anthony, 2017, Detecting temporal change in land-surface altitude using robotic land-surveying techniques and geographic information system applications at an earthen dam site in southern Westchester County, New York: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1028, 15 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171028.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods of Investigation
  • Land-Surface Altitude Change
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. Manufacturer Specifications for Uncertainty of Robotic Total Station Measurements

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Detecting temporal change in land-surface altitude using robotic land-surveying techniques and geographic information system applications at an earthen dam site in Southern Westchester County, New York
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
2017-1028
DOI:
10.3133/ofr20171028
Year Published:
2017
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
New York Water Science Center
Description:
vi, 15 p.
Country:
United States
State:
New York
County:
Westchester County
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N