Hydrological Data Collection and Processing

This course addresses aspects of data collection, data processing, data archiving as well as issues related to providing hydrological services from an operational point of view. 

For whom?

The course is meant for professionals working in the water sector. Required are a relevant education at BSc level and a basic understanding of physical hydrology. Experience in operational aspects of hydrology is a pre.


Good foundation and understanding in hydrology, hydrometeorology, and the surface- and ground-water resources-related interactions taking place in river basins, catchments and field situations

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
  1. Comprehend the need for hydrological data and information, and the roles and functions of National Hydrological Services.
  2. Comprehend the activities involved in water resources-related data collection, processing, storage and retrieval.
  3. Explain the principles and concepts used in hydrological observing networks and routine data collection.
  4. Apply standard methods for processing and analyzing hydrological data to prepare water resources information.
  5. Apply hands-on experience with collecting, processing and comparative analysis of hydrometeorological station data.

Course content

The principles and background of hydrological and hydrometeorological data collection and processing are explained in a series of class lectures. Topics include data collection networks and network design, operational, institutional and financial aspects; data bases, information dissemination and hydrological services; publicly available data sources, integration of data sources, measurement and processing of river flow data. Due attention is given to quality control of station time series and performance of data collection networks.

Practical exercises include the processing, analysis and evaluation of hydrological time series data and hands-on experience with acquisition and processing of data from internet archives.

Working in small groups, participants will gain experience in using hydrometeorological instruments at the ‘roof meteorological station’ while collecting observation data during the period of one week. The measurements are processed and the results are presented in a report and an oral presentation.

The course materials consist of lecture notes, powerpoint presentations and additional hand-outs.


The instructors for this course are T. Boogaard, PhD and R. Venneker, PhD.

Additional information

Additional reading:

  • Chow, V.T., Maidment, D.R., and Mays, LW. (1988) Applied Hydrology, McGraw-Hill, New York.
  • WMO (1994) Guide to Hydrological Practices, 5th ed., WMO-No. 168. Chapters 20, 21.
  • WMO (Terakawa, A) (2003) Hydrological Data Management: Present State and Trends, WMO-No. 964. (Available through WMO ).
  • WMO (2008) Guide to Meteorological Instruments and Methods of Observation, 7th ed., (Available through WMO).


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