Tracking River Data with Senix's Ultrasonic AirWire Local LoRa System

Senix AirWire Local LoRa Tracks River Data Alongside USGS Monitoring

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has, since 2001, been collecting water-resources data both in all 50 US states and outside of the US.

The National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP), formerly known as Federal Priority Streamgages (FPS), has been one of the initiatives used by USGS to study groundwater, surface water, water quality and water.

Data collection for future planning is one of the five goals used to guide NSIP planning. As it says on the USGS website: (https://water.usgs.gov/nsip/goals9.html)

The NSIP plan calls for intensive data collection during major floods and droughts. This additional information is needed to provide improved estimates of risk and impacts for better hazard response and mitigation.

Tracking River Data with Senix

Image Credit: Senix Corporation

Noticeable improvements in protecting lives, property and ecosystems are all effects of proper planning for flood events, as municipalities all over the world are learning first hand. Good data collection is a crucial tool in aiding these developments. Smarter land management decisions are brought about through access to good data.

The AirWire Local LoRa system, an ultrasonic sensor-based monitoring system developed by Senix Corporation of Hinesburg, Vermont, can help collect this kind of valuable waterway data. The tool, called the Senix ToughSonic, collects data using ultrasonic distance and level sensors.

The Senix ToughSonic devices are housed in 316 stainless steel with fully potted electronics (rated IP68), making them tough and durable enough to withstand many years of harsh outdoor conditions while ensuring they remain reliable. The device then securely transmits the sensor data via Senix AirWire technology using efficient LoRaWAN technology.

Tracking River Data with Senix

Image Credit: Senix Corporation

Any Senix brand ToughSonic General Purpose or CHEM sensor can connect to the AirWire LoRa Transmitter Box. Both the LoRa Radio Transmitter and the sensor are powered by 3 D-cell alkaline batteries held in the Transmitter Box.  

The sensor is instructed to ‘wake up’ to capture measurements to user defined intervals by Logic in the Transmitter Box.

A nearby powered LoRa Receiver/Gateway device then receives the data via spread spectrum modulation over sub-gigahertz radio frequency bands. The device can both display the sensor output and can be configured for data logging.

Senix ran field tests of the AirWire Local LoRa system in the City of Montpelier, Vermont, beginning in the spring of 2018. One of the Senix monitoring nodes is situated within several feet of a USGS monitoring station. (https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=04285800).

The Senix system has consistently shown that it provides the same level of data accuracy as the USGS after almost a year into the program.

Occasionally variance of less than .25 inches was noted. This can be accounted for by natural diurnal temperature changes affecting the speed of sound and lack of synchronization between the two systems when readings were recorded.

Non-USGS sites can also gather and monitor this data. Any town or village can now monitor critical stream and driver heights, no matter if they have a USGS site.

Feeder streams monitored using additional AirWire systems can aid in response planning such as street closings by giving early warning during storms of eminent surge events. This can help to avoid water rescues.

The same data is blotted by the displayed values, as can be seen in the following graphs.

USGS Output

USGS Output. Image Credit: Senix Corporation

Tracking River Data with Senix

Image Credit: Senix Corporation

Senix AirWire LoRa Output

Senix AirWire LoRa Output. Image Credit: Senix Corporation

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Senix Corporation.

For more information on this source, please visit Senix Corporation.

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