OPTICAL TRIANGULATION ON INSTATIONARY WATER SURFACES
Keywords: Optical Triangulation, Water Surfaces, Laser Light Sheet
Abstract. The measurement of water surfaces is a key task in the field of experimental hydromechanics. Established techniques are usually gauge-based and often come with a large instrumental effort and a limited spatial resolution. The paper shows a photogrammetric alternative based on the well-known laser light sheet projection technique. While the original approach is limited to surfaces with diffuse reflection properties, the developed technique is capable of measuring dynamically on reflecting instationary surfaces. Contrary to the traditional way, the laser line is not observed on the object. Instead, using the properties of water, the laser light is reflected on to a set of staggered vertical planes. The resulting laser line is observed by a camera and measured by subpixel operators. A calibration based on known still water levels provides the parameters for the translation of image space measurements into water level and gradient determination in dynamic experiments. As a side-effect of the principle of measuring the reflected laser line rather than the projected one, the accuracy can be improved by almost a factor two. In experiments a standard deviation of 0.03 mm for water level changes could be achieved. The measuring rate corresponds to the frame rate of the camera. A complete measuring system is currently under development for the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute (BAW).
This article shows the basic principle, potential and limitations of the method. Furthermore, several system variants optimised for different requirements are presented. Besides the geometrical models of different levels of complexity, system calibration procedures are described too. The applicability of the techniques and their accuracy potential are shown in several practical tests.