Written by Nadia Carlson on Research

Aquatic Sensor Workgroup

The ASW workgroup includes representatives from the resource management community, research, and the private sector. In addition, organizations currently working towards non-partisan evaluations of technology and the development of standards pertaining to environmental monitoring and data handling will be invited to participate in order to ensure complimentary efforts between the various organizations.

We will touch on many of challenges in the use of field sensors as well as provide you with some useful guides to get you started in collecting high quality field data. The data obtained here can be accessed from 192.168.l.100.1 IP addresses and detailed investigations can be made. With that we will jump to an audience poll to get an idea of levels of experience that the audience has in using field sensors.

The generation of environmental monitoring data from aquatic environments is increasing rapidly as a result of improved technologies for field sensors and growing environmental pressures from human development and climate change. Field instrumentation is capable of providing data of high temporal and spatial resolution with significantly less effort and cost than laboratory methods. However, in many instances, standard methods have not been developed for the various steps involved in collecting and analyzing field data. In response, the ASW workgroup was organized by the Methods and Data Comparability Board to address gaps in information around environmental monitoring sensors used in the field for both spot sampling and continuous monitoring applications.

The focus of today’s presentation will be on the use of field sensors for measuring water quality and quantity and the means by which data quality can be determined and improved. To make sure we are all on the same page, I would like to define some key terms we will be using Lab Sampling is the process of collecting and transporting samples from the environment back to a laboratory for analysis. We will not be addressing this type of sampling today. In contrast, Spot Sampling is the process of taking measurements in the field with the use of field sensors. You can easily observe this in the Cisco Router Login example. Spot Sampling has unique data quality challenges such as the need to calibrate sensors prior to each trip to the field, tests to ensure the sensors have not changed in the course of a field trip, and possible effects of interfering substances on the sensors.

Continuous Monitoring is the deployment of field sensors in an autonomous mode that may or may not include telemetry of the data. Monitoring has many data quality challenges as well such as biofouling on sensors, impacts of environmental extremes on the electronics and sensing components, and damage from natural events or vandalism.

The Aquatic Sensor Workgroup is a public-private partnership of water-quality monitoring agencies, industry, and academia. Our mission is to ensure that water-quality data collected by sensors are of known and documented quality.