USGS service-get stage/flow by cellphone

The U.S. Geological Survey monitors thousands of rivers for stage and flow in real time, and we’d like to let your group know of a service called “StreaMail” (which we have never advertised much, but might be of use to you). StreaMail lets you use your cell phone (or any email system) to ask for the stage and flow of any USGS real-time monitoring site. In a few minutes you get a reply with the most recent stage and flow.

All you do is send a text message or email to "" and in the “subject” line (or possibly the body line, depending on cell phone type) put in the USGS site number (usually an 8 digit number…for Texas, the list of sites is at:

If you try StreaMail and find it useful, please let me know, as HQ is considering making the service more robust.


Howard Perlman, USGS

Thanks, Howard. I use the main site
every day, but until now I have avoided text messaging on my cell phone as a measure taken toward simplicity. I’ll have to get my daughter to teach me.

phone # for texting
I was thinking this would be a good way to get gauge readings in the mountains, where cell coverage can be spotty, and texts are more likely to go through than voice or 3G connections; however, texting requires a 10 digit cell number, not an e-mail address. If I have enough 3G coverage to send/receive e-mail, then I also have enough coverage to just pull up the bookmarked web page for the gauge I’m interested in (which is what I do now).

text message to email

– Last Updated: Nov-05-10 5:37 PM EST –

I can send a text message to an email address, and I don't have the ability to email from my phone (it's a "dumb" phone). Try it, I think you'll find it works just fine.

I use this type of service to get Offshore Buoy reports from the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observation System (GOMOOS).

Works great.

Turns out it works fine, but my iphone refuses to let me choose a contact that has only an email address. So I just have to type in the whole address by hand each time. My bad…

mixed results
It worked via email just fine, but when I tried sending text messages to that address, I got responses back that the gauges were invalid – even though I know the 8-digit numbers I transmitted were correct. Will try it a few more times and let you know the exact msg I got back.