U. S. Geological Survey - Water Resources - Michigan District

Water Resources of Michigan

Visualization of Drifting Buoy Deployments on St. Clair River near Public Water Intakes

US Geological Survey Open File Report 01-17
Lansing, Michigan 2001

By: David J. Holtschlag and Steve S. Aichele

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St. Clair River is a connecting channel of the Great Lakes between Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair. The river forms part of the international boundary between the United States and Canada in the eastern Lower Peninsula of Michigan and southern Ontario. Drifting buoys were deployed to help investigate flow characteristics near public water intakes in ten reaches of St. Clair River from October 3-5, 2000. In eight deployments, buoys were released at uniform intervals in a transect across the river to better understand flow patterns. In the remaining six deployments, buoys were released in a cluster near the middle of the channel to study turbulent dispersion characteristics. The eight spherical and seven cylindrical buoys used in the study were equipped with drogues and had similar drift characteristics. Each buoy contained a geographical positioning system (GPS) to monitor its movement. Computer animations were developed that integrated these GPS data with data shown on navigational charts. These computer animations, which can be viewed through the Internet, provide a scientific visualization tool to study the deployments.


Holtschlag, D.J. and Aichele, S.S., 2001, Visualization of drifting buoy deployments on St. Clair River near public water intakes--October 3-5, 2000: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 01-17

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