Articles | Volume 7, issue 3
Research article
17 Sep 2019
Research article |  | 17 Sep 2019

Introducing PebbleCounts: a grain-sizing tool for photo surveys of dynamic gravel-bed rivers

Benjamin Purinton and Bodo Bookhagen

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Cited articles

Agisoft: AgiSoft PhotoScan Professional, available at: (last access: 12 September 2019), 2018. a
Attal, M. and Lavé, J.: Changes of bedload characteristics along the Marsyandi River (central Nepal): Implications for understanding hillslope sediment supply, sediment load evolution along fluvial networks, and denudation in active orogenic belts, Geol. S. Am. S., 398, 143–171,, 2006. a
Attal, M., Mudd, S. M., Hurst, M. D., Weinman, B., Yoo, K., and Naylor, M.: Impact of change in erosion rate and landscape steepness on hillslope and fluvial sediments grain size in the Feather River basin (Sierra Nevada, California), Earth Surf. Dynam., 3, 201–222,, 2015. a
Bertin, S. and Friedrich, H.: Field application of close-range digital photogrammetry (CRDP) for grain-scale fluvial morphology studies, Earth Surf. Proc. Land., 41, 1358–1369,, 2016. a, b
Bertin, S., Groom, J., and Friedrich, H.: Isolating roughness scales of gravel-bed patches, Water Resour. Res., 53, 6841–6856,, 2017. a
Short summary
We develop and test new methods for counting pebble-size distributions in photos of gravel-bed rivers. Our open-source algorithms provide good estimates in complex imagery from high-energy mountain rivers. We discuss methods of river cross-section photo collection and processing into seamless georeferenced imagery. Application of a semi-automated version of the algorithm in small patches can be used as validation data for upscaling to entire survey sites using a fully automated version.