new sensor deployedOctober 3, 2020
We have been working on designing and releasing our next sensor version. This one focuses on using more readily available parts and being more versatile depending on the situation in which it is deployed. To read more about this sensor’s design and some rough steps to create your own, visit our new guide at guide.aquametric.live. Keep […]
methods of measuring velocitySeptember 11, 2020
While stage height can provide useful data to help predict flood events or other localized events, it is sometimes not enough to be able to quantitatively measure how one water body will interact with another. The flow rate can provide this data, but in order to measure it, you need to know a) the cross […]
more robust hardware alternativeSeptember 2, 2020
I’ve been working on an alternative sensor version for areas where natural conditions or people are likely to damage the device. The idea of a fully enclosed PVC sensor design came from my mentor session with Bruce Dominguez. While this design will be harder to install, it will be much more resilient to damage. Currently […]
sensor vandalizedJune 19, 2020
We expected that at some point, someone would want to know about our sensor or want it removed (even though we received permission to mount the sensor), and that is why we provided contact information directly on the device. We did not expect, however, that someone would want to destroy our sensor just for the […]
stream cross sectional analysisMay 22, 2020
Knowing the depth of the water flowing through a stream is great for knowing when it may flood or how the banks may erode over time, but in order to predict how other bodies will interact with a stream, its often useful know the actual volume of water flowing through it. In order to calculate […]
sensor submergedApril 28, 2020
Our sensor mysteriously stopped reporting measurements back to us yesterday around 3 am. The battery and cellular strength all seemed to be acceptable, so we were unsure what had happened to it. The last few readings from the sensor show the stream water level rising rapidly, but nothing that we hadn’t seen before in previous […]
ota updatesApril 24, 2020
The frequent trips to the stream for software updates were starting to get tiring, so we sought to implement OTA updates. We also wanted to be able to change the frequency at which our sensor wakes up and takes a measurement (e.g. hourly, every 15 minutes). The Particle Electron microcontroller we are using supports OTA […]
quirky sensor dataApril 23, 2020
Recently, we visited the sensor and did some in-field fixes to the thermistor. The temperature now seems to be sending back sensible readings now and we can see the day night cycle in the stream temperature pretty well. Our conductivity sensor, on the other hand, is behaving pretty strangely. It also shows a daily cycle […]
first quality sensor dataApril 13, 2020
After deploying our latest sensor version to a small local river, we were able to collect some usable stage data during a pretty big rainstorm. Within about an hour of the rainstorm starting, the stage began to climb at a pretty staggering rate. During its rise, we were concerned that our sensor would become submerged […]
sensor initial versionsApril 11, 2020
For the first version of our sensor, we focused on developing a device that could take accurate measurements of the water’s stage height. We initially chose an ultrasonic range finder for this purpose. It was oriented towards the water’s surface. By subtracting the measured value from the height at which the sensor was mounted, we […]
This project was developed in collaboration with Ian Vernooy. It received a Hackaday Bootstrap Award and was a Finalist for the 2020 Hackaday Prize.
Find live data from our sensor here: aquametric.rohanmenon.com
Find project updates and logs here: hackaday.io/project/170881
Metrics such as stage height, conductivity, and temperature can provide valuable insight into ecological health and can also serve as predictors for events such as flooding. Traditionally, these metrics are measured either manually by a scientist or by large and expensive permanently installed stations. Unfortunately, human measurement reduces the possible frequency of data collection and traditional sensor stations require lots of infrastructure.
We aimed to address both of these problems by creating a low-cost, distributed IOT sensor network. The stream monitoring system consists of one or more sensing units that communicate over cellular data to a central server. A cellular enabled microcontroller coordinates input from the various sensors. A laser time of flight (ToF) sensor is mounted towards the surface of the water to measure changes in gauge. These components are mounted in a 3D printed, weather-proof case about 30 cm above the highest expected height of the stream. Conductivity and temperature sensors are mounted below the water’s surface.
The sensing unit is designed to use as little power as possible in order to maximize their lifetime. They enter a sleep state for the time between sensor readings and wake once an hour. Then, they connect to a central server via an LTE data connection. The server stores the sensor data in a database and hosts a website to access and analyze historical data.