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Marine Measurements

Waves Array
Catch the Wave --- with our powerful and affordable Waves Array upgrade!

Waves array

Teledyne RDI’s Workhorse Waves Array is an innovative, cost-effective upgrade that allows you to take your Teledyne RDI ADCP to the next level. Via a simple upgrade, you can capture not only the industry’s most field-proven and dependable precision current profiling data, but highly accurate multi-directional wave measurements as well.

Teledyne RDI’s Workhorse ADCP has long been viewed as the industry’s most versatile ADCP. With a single instrument you can collect precision ADCP data from the seafloor, the surface, or even a moving vessel. And now, for the fraction of the cost of a stand-alone waves measurement tool, you can add highly robust multi-directional waves measurement capability to your instrument’s repertoire.

Why limit yourself to a single measurement, or settle for inferior measurements, when Teledyne RDI’s Waves Array allows you to have it all – at a price that meets your budget.

Download Workhorse Waves Array Datasheet (548 Kb) >>click here

Application Information
Workhorse Waves Array Application Notes >> view applications

Workhorse Waves Array Library
>> view references

Data Samples
Workhorse Waves Array Data Samples
>> view data

Workhorse Waves Array Software Options >>learn more

Not sure which ADCP is right for you? Consult our product selection guide >>download PDF

Workhorse Waves Array Product FAQs  >>learn more

NEW Waves Software and NEMO Configurations >>full details


product features

Versatility - Via a simple upgrade, Teledyne RDI’s Waves Array allows you to transform your Workhorse Sentinel, Monitor, H-ADCP or Express ADCP into a powerful Waves Measurement tool. Now you can collect the industry’s highest quality ADCP data, as well as our proven, patented multi-directional waves measurement – all from a single instrument.

Affordable - As an upgrade to your Teledyne RDI ADCP, the Waves array is one of the industry’s most economical, yet powerful, waves measurement products you can buy. Why settle for a lower cost, inferior alternative, when Teledyne RDI allows you to add waves capability for a fraction of the cost of stand-alone waves measurement tools? (Contact RDI for a quote at

High Quality Current Profiling Capability. At the core of our Waves system is a Workhorse ADCP, the industry’s most field proven, robust, and reliable ADCP available. Your high quality wave data is collected at the same time you collect your full current profiles.

Confidence in Results. Teledyne RDI’s ADCP Waves Array uses 3 independent methods to observe the wave field, from which you can validate your results and even inter-compare directly with traditional methods if you wish. By collecting from multiple sources for our data calculations, we can reliably deliver data and information even when conditions are less than ideal. (Learn more about this patented technology.)

Horizontal Waves Measurements. Expand your horizons with horizontal waves measurements. Teledyne RDI’s Horizontal ADCP (H-ADCP) can be upgraded to collect not only surface currents, but highly accurate multi-directional waves data as well -- out to 200 meters range. (Learn more about this unique angle.)

Real Time Waves Data at your Fingertips. Teledyne RDI’s Waves Array can be upgraded to include real-time wireless data access. When deployed in conjunction with Teledyne RDI’s NEMO waves processor, your waves and current data are processed and compressed within the ADCP, removing the typical constrains for transmitting this data to the surface via an acoustic or inductive modem. (Discover how one customer is using this valuable tool.)

No Surface Expression/Reduced Deployment Risk. The ADCP Waves Array is typically deployed from a bottom mounted context. Unlike buoys, it remains hidden from vandalism, and the environment. Plus, Teledyne RDI's ADCPs have a track record second-to-none for reliability. So, during deployments, relax and feel confident that you will recover both your ADCP and your valuable data set.

Flexible Design Allows for a Wide Array of Deployment Conditions. Our superior data collection technology allows our Waves Array to measure waves in a wide range of environmental or deployment conditions, including: shallow water, deep water, long waves, short waves, multi-directional waves, in strong currents, from a tilted bottom, horizontally, in fishy conditions, from a platform moving at 12 knots, with mooring motion, etc.

Easy to Learn, Easy to Operate. Teledyne RDI’s real-time, WavesMon data collection software provides intuitive deployment planning, easy data collection, and complete processing displays. For first time users’ our software Wizard will walk you through your deployment – making data collection as easy as 1-2-3. Our WavesView software has been designed to convert the data you’ve collected into easy to understand information and images. Both WavesMon and WavesView are included free of charge with your Waves Array upgrade.

Powerful and Comprehensive. For our seasoned users and scientists, our same WavesMon software can be configured to deliver all of the power and versatility you demand to fully understand and analyze your field data.

RDI Support Every Step of the Way. Take advantage of RDI’s 25 years of experience in the offshore and near shore environment. Our highly skilled and dedicated team of support professionals is available 24/7 to provide advice and answers to ensure your success. We also offer weekly free online training on a wide array of product, software, and field application topics. (Visit Teledyne RDI University to learn more.)

Waves Array Application Information

Waves Array used in support of Florida Coastal Forcing Project Highlighted application:
Workhorse Waves Array used in support of Florida Coastal Forcing Project >>details

Teledyne RDI's Waves Array is the ideal tool for waves and current measurements for:

  • Coastal Protection and Engineering
  • Port Design and Operation
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Shipping Safety
  • Offshore LNG Terminals
  • Offshore Renewable Site Selection and Monitoring

Interested in…

Horizontal wave measurements? >>Click here

Real time waves measurement? >>Click here

Waves Array for port and harbor environmental monitoring? >> Click here

Waves Array for real time piloting & docking systems? >>Click here

"Solitons Northeast of Tung-Sha Island During the ASIAEX Pilot Studies"; Ying-Jang Yang, Tswen Yung Tang, M. H. Chang, Antony K. Liu, Ming-Kuang Hsu, and Steven R. Ramp; IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering Vol. 29, No. 4, October 2004

Have an application you'd like to share?
We'd love to hear from you! (And, as a token of our appreciation, we'll send you a special gift!)
Please fill in this brief online form; and e-mail any accompanying photos or data sets to
Short on time? Contact Margo to schedule a quick telephone interview.

Waves Array Data Samples

View real-time Teledyne RDI Waves data at the following web sites:


Waves Array Software

WavesMon - Powerful, guided Waves Array deployment software. Included with your Waves Array purchase.

WavesView - Numerical and graphical display tool for your collected Waves Array data. Included with your Waves Array purchase.

Need help planning your deployment?

>>WavesPlan is now available within our new PlanADCP program. WavesPlan allows you adjust and determines the optimal parameters for your ADCP Waves Array deployment.


Waves Array Library:

Measuring Infra Gravity Waves with an ADCP Wave Gauge, by Morten Hvidberg-Knudsen and Kim Roerbaek. >>Click here to download Acrobat file. (1.58 MB PDF)

Want to learn more about Teledyne RDI’s patented Waves Technology? >>Click here to download Teledyne RDI's new Waves Primer. (732K PDF)

Evaluation of Wave Measurements with an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler, By K. Roerbaek, H. Anderson. >>Click here to download Acrobat file. (384 kb PDF)

The Performance of ADCP-Derived Directional Wave Spectra and Comparison with Other Independent Measurements, by B. Strong and B. Brumley. >>Click here to download Acrobat file. (276 kb PDF)

Technical Note: Use of Teledyne RD Instruments “Pulse to Pulse Coherent Mode” to Study Shear in the Wave Orbital Bottom Boundary. (380 kb PDF)


Waves Array FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions): 

>>Click here to download our Waves Primer --- a great resource for understanding the technology behind Teledyne RDI's superior Waves products. (PDF)

  1. Does Teledyne RDI use the PUV technique for directional wave measurements?
  2. I have heard that most researchers prefer the PUV method. Is that correct?
  3. If you are measuring waves, then the flow can’t possibly be homogeneous across all the beams once you get to any reasonable range from the instrument. How do you account for the flow inhomogeneity?
  4. Isn’t the array technique limited by Nyquist to resolving waves no shorter than twice the size of the array?
  5. How do the depth limitations compare between the Waves Array Technique and a PUV gauge?
  6. Do you use a pressure sensor for the Waves Array Technique?
  7. How do you measure the non-directional wave statistics?
  8. Why doesn’t Teledyne RDI rearrange the geometry of the transducers to make one of the beams point vertically?
  9. Do you incorporate background currents in your dispersion relationship for transferring your measurements to the surface?
  10. How do I choose between the frequencies offered?
1. Question: Does Teledyne RDI use the PUV technique for directional wave measurements?
Answer: We generally use the orbital velocity measurements along the beams to create an array of twelve independent measurements. PUV consists of only three measurements only (pressure, and the two components of horizontal velocity), while using an array of more measurements results in a more accurate measurement of wave direction and of the spread in the direction. In addition, only an array can resolve more than one wave train propagating in different directions at similar frequencies. The PUV method is inherently limited by its limited number of measurements to resolving no more than one direction per frequency. Having said that, there are certain unusual situations where the array processing can not be done, particularly if the ADCP is moving around a lot. In these cases we provide a PUV processing technique, but with the explicit recognition that the measurements will not be of the quality we can provide using array processing from a fixed platform.

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2. Question: I have heard that most researchers prefer the PUV method. Is that correct?
Answer: It is not that most researchers prefer PUV, it is that prior to the introduction of the RDI Waves Array Technique the researchers had to choose between a simply deployed, single instrument, or going to the time and expense of a surveyed installation of several instruments to create an array. Arrays are unquestionably more accurate, but deploying an array of instruments is far more expensive than deploying one instrument. The introduction of the RDI Waves Array Technique combines the accuracy of an array of measurements with the simplicity of deploying a single instrument. And what most researchers actually prefer is to make the most accurate and highly resolved measurements that they can possibly afford.

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3. Question: If you are measuring waves, then the flow can’t possibly be homogeneous across all the beams once you get to any reasonable range from the instrument. How do you account for the flow inhomogeneity?
Answer: This can be a bit confusing, because it is true that any ADCP requires the flow to be homogenous across all beams in order to resolve the three dimensional velocities. However, we are not combining the beams into three dimensional velocities for our wave measurements. The array is actually made up of the individual along beam velocities, because it is precisely the fact that each measurement is in a different part of the wave field that allows us to apply array processing to successfully resolve the wave parameters.

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4. Question: Isn’t the array technique limited by Nyquist to resolving waves no shorter than twice the size of the array?
Answer: This is another one that can be a bit confusing. First of all, the Nyquist limitation on the measurable waves is that no waves can be resolved whose wavelengths are less than twice the shortest spatial separation within the array – not the overall size of the array. The RDI Waves technique creates the array from three to five measurements along each beam, which are generally chosen to be the ones closest to the surface. Since the beams are oriented at 20? off the vertical, the bins chosen farthest from the surface form the inner elements of the array (with the shortest spatial separation). However, even if we did use only the farthest elements from an array deployed 50 m deep, the beams are separated by a maximum of less than 40 m (2*50*tan20). In practice, the actual limitation on measuring the shorter wavelength, higher frequency waves is the depth of the measurement – and the near surface measurements used by the Waves Array Technique makes the PUV gauge far more depth limited.

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5.Question: How do the depth limitations compare between the Waves Array Technique and a PUV gauge?
Answer: The Waves Array Technique is far less limited by depth than the PUV. A PUV gauge must, per force, make all measurements in the vicinity of the instrument, while the ADCP Waves Array Technique uses the velocity measurements nearest the surface. Assuming both instruments are deployed at the same depth, the Waves Array Technique is making its measurements farther up in the water column than the PUV gauge, and can therefore see higher frequency waves than can the PUV gauge. In fact, for the same high frequency cutoff, the ADCP used for the Waves Array Technique can be deployed much deeper than the PUV gauge.

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6. Question: Do you use a pressure sensor for the Waves Array Technique?
Answer: We measure pressure primarily so that we know the mean water depth. It is very important that we know this value to accurately transform our orbital velocity measurements to the surface. We also use the pressure sensor as our second redundant measurement of the non-directional wave statistics. It is treated as a redundant measurement precisely because it is the most limited of our three measurements due to its depth.

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7. Question: How do you measure the non-directional wave statistics?
Answer: We measure the non-directional wave statistics in three ways. We choose as our primary measurement of the non-directional statistics the twelve along-beam velocity measurements that comprise our directional array. This is our primary method because of its robustness – it will work in nearly any wave environment. As a secondary measurement we also measure the range to the surface along all four beams. When this works, and it usually does, it requires no transfer to the surface, and can in principle measure wave frequencies limited only by the sampling rate. We do not choose it as our primary because there are some sea conditions where this measurement will fail because our signal glances off the surface without returning any reflections to the ADCP. The third measurement is from the pressure sensor, which is not chosen because it is measuring the deepest, and is therefore limited to resolving lower frequencies than the other two methods. It is very important to note that we do all three calculations in any event! That is, with the Waves Array Technique you will always have all three calculations on display for you to compare.

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8. Question: Why doesn’t Teledyne RDI rearrange the geometry of the transducers to make one of the beams point vertically?
Answer: Teledyne RDI experimented with both geometries (three transducers at 120 degrees with a vertical; and four at ninety degrees all off vertical), and found that both worked pretty well. The vertical beam gives the capability to resolve waves of slightly higher frequency, but at the expense of decreasing the number of elements we can use in the array. Recall that we construct our array by translating three to five measurements along each beam, and each of those measurements becomes one of the elements in the array. If we re-orient one beam to the vertical, then it can only give us one independent element in the array. The single greatest advantage of the RDI Waves Array Technique is its ability to highly resolve wave direction, particularly when there is more than one wave propagating at the same frequency. This capability comes directly from the number of elements in our array, and it would not be as good were we to reorient one of the beams to the vertical.

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9. Question: Do you incorporate background currents in your dispersion relationship for transferring your measurements to the surface?
Answer: Yes, and we believe that we are the only ones who do so. Proper correction to the dispersion relationship requires incorporating the vertically weighted profile of the background currents. It is one thing to say the measurements exist for you to make the corrections yourself later, it is quite another to incorporate this capability into the package and make it available for application with the click of a button as we have.

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10. Question: How do I choose between the frequencies offered?
Answer: Like everything else it is a tradeoff between several competing factors:
Minimum Directional
Wave Period
Minimum Resolvable
Wave Height
1200 kHz 2.5 – 14 m 1.8 s (from 5 m deep) 10 cm
600 kHz 5 – 45 m 3.5 s (from 20 m deep) 20 cm
300 kHz 10-80 m 7.0 s (from 80 m deep) 40 cm

For a primer more oriented to how wave measurements are made, along with some of the difficulties associated with making the measurements, please see our Waves Primer. For a general introduction to the Teledyne RDI Waves Array Technique please see Teledyne RDI Waves Array.

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Looking for more information?
Contact the Marine Measurements group for immediate assistance. >>contact info