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Sediment Transport Instrumentation Facility - Publications

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler Data Processing System

Created by:
Jessica M. Cote, Frances S. Hotchkiss, Marinna Martini, Charles R. Denham

Additional revisions by:
Andree L. Ramsey and Stephen Ruane

Maintained and updated by:
Marinna Martini

What's New:

We will no longer be supporting this code due to changes in the way MATLAB accesses netCDF!

MATLAB versions 2011 and higher have new built-in functions for netCDF access, but older netCDF access code no longer works well with these new versions of MATLAB. This has severely impacted the ADCP toolbox and as a result, at the USGS in Woods Hole, we are converting to the new MATLAB netCDF techniques. This, and developments by ADCP vendors to provide more comprehensive processing software, have made this toolbox obsolete. You may still download the old ADCP and netCDF toolboxes here to use as you see fit, but we will not be able to provide resources for support.

Version 7. Get it here.

You will also need to download this version of the netCDF toolbox.

Feedback to the email is always appreciated.

Here are pictures and drawings of a rotation table used by the USGS Coastal and Marine Program to calibrate and verify ADCPs.

What is the ADCP Data Processing System?

Our Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler Data Processing System, or ADCP Tools for short, is a set of documented MATLAB m-files which convert RDI data to netCDF format, process and display the data. Beam to earth rotations can be computed if data was recorded in beam. Velocity, intensity, % good, and correlation data as well as ancillary data such as temperature and sound speed are available on a beam by bin basis, and as a 3D plot.

Why not use RD Instruments' software?

RDI's software suite for processing and displaying ADCP data is terrific if you are doing work in real time or looking at profiles. For those of us using the ADCP for time series work, RDI has a windows based viewer, winadcp. But many of us transfer the data to other software packages for plotting, 'massaging', batch processing and modeling. What we offer here is a method of transferring to, working on, and viewing your data in MATLAB.

For more details

  • View the ADCP Data Processing System Manual (USGS OFR 00-458)
  • View website describing NetCDF (Network Common Data Form)

Please send a message to (ADCP tools address) if you download this software. Even if you already signed up for the previous version, we would like to know who is using the latest version. You may also use the address to report bugs and send feedback. If we know who you are, we can let you know when we have fixed bugs!

A note about your e-mail and privacy: the USGS privacy disclaimer states that we will not distribute your personal information. We collect these e-mails to know a) if it's worth our time maintaining this site and b) to notify you of updates to the software.

Helpful Hints

  • This toolbox is designed for current velocity profiles only. If you have data from a waves deployment, you need to split the profiles from the packets data before using this toolbox. Use either splitadcp.m or wavesmon.
  • Put these toolbox directories at the end of your MATLAB path
  • Make sure only one version of this toolbox is on your MATLAB path
  • We test this toolbox using the demos.


  • These files are tailored to our studies here at the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center. As we receive feedback (and find the time) we will add more features, streamline code, improve documentation, etc.
  • Understand that our primary role for the USGS is to carry out field studies and we do not have a huge staff to maintain software. We will, however, try to respond to issues as our field schedule and priorities allow us the time.

Why are we doing this?

What we get from you is insight into methodology and improvements to the software.

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This page last modified on Monday, 24-Nov-2014 13:05:33 EST