What does Cithyd mean?
Cithyd stands for Citizen Hydrology, since it is born from the application of Citizen Science's approach to hydrology, the science that studies the motion of water in nature.
Do I need to install a dedicated application on the smartphone?
No Cithyd is a web app and does not require the installation of any dedicated apps. The data can be entered by simply scanning the QR code printed in the instruction sheet installed on the watercourse. If your smartphone does not have a QR scanner, you can install one of the many available for free on the Apple Store or Android Market, which can also be used for other purposes (eg business card or contact information storage, direct links to websites, videos, etc ...). Alternatively, you can enter the measurement data by going to the web address given on the instruction sheet.
Do I have to register to use Cithyd?
Registration is not mandatory, Cithyd also works with unregistered users, but it has many advantages for the user: the ability to have a list of sent measures; to remain informed about the project and to participate more actively in the project; to skip the authentication process as a human user.
How do you download the measurements?
From the page of each station, by clicking on the CSV key, you can download the station data to a text file that contains the station features in the header and the measures entered till that moment. Alternatively, you can download the Measure Registry of that station by clicking on the PDF button, thus generating a station card in pdf format containing station features, measurements, station photography and a planimetry with the localization of the staff gauge
Is Cithyd free?
All data is downloadable and usable free of charge in compliance with the Italian Openda Data License 2.0. We strongly believe in the importance of collecting data to study hydrological phenomena, make decisions, plan and design defense works from geo-hydrological disaster, as well as the importance of engaging people as a learning opportunity and awareness of natural phenomena and associated risk. That's why we created Cithyd. Making profits is not and will never be the ultimate goal of the Cithyd project. For this reason, we try to minimize the costs for those who join the project. Cithyd can also provide, on request, to those who want it, additional paid services such as, for example, training courses, staff gauge installation, customization, data analysis, additional feature development, data backup or dedicated service apps
How can I use the data collected through Cithyd?
Data collected through Cithyd can be downloaded as open date and used for free in compliance with the Italian Openda Data License 2.0, available in the national catalog of metadata for data released in open format by the Italian public administrations http://www.dati.gov.it/content/italian-open-data-license-v20. For example, collected data can be used for model calibration, statistical analysis, watercourse studies. Data is collected and verified with the utmost care, but this does not guarantee that they are completely free of errors. Cithyd is not responsible for any damage resulting from the use of the downloaded data.
What is it and what does Keeper play?
The Keeper is the person or the subject that takes care of the hydrometric staff gauge and the instruction sign installed on the water's edge and who periodically sends water level measurements. Becoming a keeper you can have your own name and logo and on the Cithyd site and on the information sign. The keeper may be a person, a group of people, a public body or an association interested in participating in the project. The keeper can also verify, eliminate and correct the measurements sent by other users regarding his own measuring station.
Cithyd offers technical assistance?
Cithyd's operation is very simple and there is no need to install any mechanical or electronic instruments. The database and the associated site are daily controlled by our team. Therefore, there is no dedicated support service, but if you want to report any need or malfunction, you can contact us at info@cithyd.com for any support questions. We strive to respond to all inquiries in a timely manner and we can schedule on request teleconferencing meetings.
In the board of each station in the website it is indicates the drainage basin area, what does it mean?
The drainage basin area is the hydrographic basin associated with the measurement station. The catchment area is a portion of the territory that, due to its orographic shape, collects rainwater to a single impulse grove, giving rise to a water course, or to a basin or depression, giving rise to a lake or a marshy area. In a moorland basin it is possible to identify a water convergence site, said closing section, through which the entire volume of water collected superficially passes through. The surface extension is the main feature from which the basin response to the rain depends. If the basin has a small extension, it collects little water but the formation time of the flood is in the order of a few hours (typical case of the mountainous valley) with the possibility of flash floods, while it is larger (even some days) for a basin of great extension.
Is Cithyd an alternative to automatic measuring instruments?
Depending on what you want to do, for example for civil protection or planning purposes, you need to collect systematically reliable data with appropriate sample rate. Many institutional bodies collect and publish data from various sensors with continuous automatic acquisition. Cithyd does not want to replace the automatic measuring instruments, but many researches [2;4;6] have demonstrated the usefulness and validity of Citizen Science's approach in collecting level measures, for the increased availability of information and for the important implications for people's engagment.

FAQ about rivers, hydrology and Citizen Science

What is hydrology?
Hydrology is the science that studies the waters that lie on the ground, both above and below the surface, their formation, circulation and distribution over time and in space, their biological, physical and chemical properties and their interactions with the environment, including those with living beings. Hydrology provides answers to questions such as water management, land-use planning and designing of hydraulic works (dams, river banks, sewers, aqueducts, etc).
What is Citizen Science?
The term Citizen Science (literally, from the English, the science of citizens) indicates that complex of activities linked to scientific research involving citizens in collaboration with scientists or under the guidance of professional scientists and scientific institutions. Citizen Science projects actively involve citizens in scientific research that generates new knowledge or understanding. Citizens can act as contributors, collaborators, or project leaders and play a significant role in the project. Both professional scientists and citizens involved benefit from taking part in a Citizen Science project. Advantages can include the availability of more data, the publication of search results, learning opportunities, personal enjoyment, social benefits, satisfaction for contributing to providing scientific evidence, for example: finding answers to issues of relevance local, national and international, and through these, have the opportunity to influence on sectoral policies. Citizen Science is considered a research method like any other, with limits and margin of error that must be considered and kept under control, however, unlike traditional research methodologies, Citizen Science provides opportunities for broad public involvement and democratization of science. Citizen Science projects and data are publicly available and, where possible, the results are published in a format of open access [5].
Are there other similar experiments in Italy or abroad?
Citizen Science methodologies have already been applied to various hydrological research projects. There are many examples of volunteers gathering data on weather data, such as rainfall and temperatures, as well as some experiments focussed on level data collection. For example the US project "Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow – CoCoRaHS” [3] for the collection of rainfall data began in 1998 in the United States of America. Cithyd is inspired by the project "Crowdhydrology" for the widespread collection of level data through volunteers [6]. Cithyd has introduced some important changes and additions in the orignal project, including the use of QR codes for fast data entry via smartphones, station monitoring and verification of measurements through users with the role of keeper. Cithyd was developed from 2015 and officially presented at the international conference "Citizen observatories for water management" held in Venice in June 2016 [1].
Where can I find other data and measures on Italian rivers?
In Italy there are several institutions that are responsible for collecting and publishing environmental data, including rainfall, temperature, wind speed and direction, and also level anad flow measurements in rivers. At regional level these institutions are generally the Regional Agencies for Environmental Protection (ARPA). The data may be published in real time or periodically after validation process. A list of the main sources of hydrological and / or meteorological data, grouped by region, is available on the unofficial Italian Hydrological Data Portal, developed thanks to a thesis at the University of Brescia http://meteoniardo.altervista.org/portale-dei-dati-idrologici-italiani.html [verified on 15/09/2017]
What are the hydrometric and hydrometric zero?
Hydrometric level at a given river site is the difference between the water surface of the river and an altimetric reference point, which may be the average level of the river sea or hydrometric zero, that is, a chosen conventional point (eg the top of the parapet of a bridge or the plane of the road), or the point where the zero value is read on the staff gauge. The zero of the staff gauge is the altitude (above the sea level) that was agreed for that staff gauge. Through the hydrometric zero, it is possible to express the water level measurement in meters above sea level.
What is a staff gauge?
Staff gauge is a graduated pole or board that is placed in or beside a watercourse and from which it is possible to measure directly the height of the water surface relative to a known datum elevation Nowadays, more complex measuring instruments are used, which allow automatic reading and sending of data.
Can you know the discharge from the water level measurement?
The flow rate of a watercourse is defined as the volume flowing into the time unit through a given cross section. The principles of hydraulics teach that it is possible to establish a relationship between the flow rate in a certain water cross section and the water level elevation. The validity of the relationship over time also depends on the stability of the cross section geometry, which is generally not guaranteed due to artificial or natural causes (such as erosion and deposition of sediments). There are some instruments that simultaneously measure the water level and surface velocity, in order to estimate the flow into the river.
Why does the level in some rivers grow faster than in others?
The rise of the water level at a given river site depends on various factors, slope and shape of the riverbed, phenomena tha generate the flood (eg precipitation, melting of snow, maneuvering of the dam regulating organs, etc.). However, it is generally true that the catchement area affects the rate of growth of the water levels. For this reason, in small streams, the level can grow rapidly, within a few hours or even a few minutes, while in large rivers the water level rises (or drops) generally more slowly. The floods that occur on small rivers are therefore more instantaneous, more difficult to predict and often more dangerous tha flood in large rivers. In the information associated with the Cithyd measurement points we included the catchment area so citizens can easily understand the different behavior of the rivers in relation to the area.
In the FAQ there are names and numbers in square brackets, what do they mean?
Cithyd is a scientific research project, conducted strictly on the basis of the experiences reported in scientific publications related to similar projects. The development of the platform was preceded by a careful analysis of the available bibliography, published on the main scientific journals in the field of hydrology and citizen science. The quotes of the main bibliographic references used are included in brackets in the frequently asked questions page. They are referred to the following papers:

1. Balbo A. and Galimberti G. (2016): Citizen hydrology in River Contracts for water management and people engagement at basin scale, Proceedings of COWM2016 - International Conference on Citizen Observatories for Water Management, Venice, 7-9 June 2016
2. Buytaert W. et al (2014): Citizen science in hydrology and water resources: opportunities for knowledge generation, ecosystem service management, and sustainable development, Frontiers in earth science, Volume 2, Article 26, 1-21.
3. Cifelli R. et al (2005): The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network: Informal Education for Scientists and Citizens. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., Vol. 86, 8(Aug), 1069-1077.
4. Davids J.C., Van De Giesen N. and Rutten, M. (2017): Environmental Management 60: 12.
5. European Citizen Science Association (2015): 10 Principles of Citizen Science, https://ecsa.citizen-science.net
6. Lowry C. S. and Fienen M. N. (2012): CrowdHydrology: Crowdsourcing Hydrologic Data and Engaging Citizen Scientists, Ground Water, 1-6

Cithyd papers contained in the "Documents" section offer additional references for further reading.