We describe an optical method known as moiré for acquiring quasi-simultaneous measurements of bed topography and flow depth in laboratory experiments. The moiré method is based on projecting a fringe pattern (grating) on the bed and analyzing the deformation of the pattern caused by the topography with respect to a reference plane. The height of the object is encoded in the phase of the pattern and can be retrieved either through Fourier transform or phase shifting algorithms. The methodology enables image-based non-contact measurements over a continuous surface at very high spatial and temporal resolutions. We use a commercial software package of a moiré method called Light3D to map bed topography and flow depth in an experimental braided channel and demonstrate how the method can be used to characterize a full range of statistics not previously possible
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