Area and Volume Errors in Reservoir Projects

by Antonio M. Aguilar, (M.ASCE), Geometronics Engineer; Florida Dept. of Transportation, Tallahassee, FL; formerly, Associate Professor Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS,

Serial Information: Journal of the Surveying and Mapping Division, 1971, Vol. 97, Issue 2, Pg. 287-296

Document Type: Journal Paper


In reservoir planning-design, the engineer is facing the task of determining area of tracks of land, of surfaces covered by the reservoir water, and of the volumes of water contained in the reservoir at different water elevations. It is of fundamental importance to estimate the errors of these determinations in order to have a realistic look at the values obtained and their possible variations. In general, areas are measured from map directly by planimeters or computed from rectangular coordinates obtained by coordinatographs, and Volumes derived from contour areas. Areas and, consequently, volumes are affected by map and area measuring instrumentation errors. Formulas are presented to estimate these errors in general and specifically under the mapping standards commonly used in the United States. Because of its importance in reservoir planning-design, an example of the use of these formulas to the area-capacity curve determinations is included.

Subject Headings: Water management | Errors (statistics) | Mapping | Reservoirs | Volume measurement | Land use | Measuring instruments | Instrumentation | United States

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