The Illustrated Field Deployment Guide for Rivers and Streams

1. System Selection

System selection as used here refers to whether a water-quality sensor is to be used to collect data with a human always present ("Attended monitoring") or if the sensor is to be deployed to collect data for a given period of time with no human present during most of the time ("Unattended monitoring").

1a. Attended Monitoring -- the simplest way to deploy water-quality sensors is shown in the photo below. Attended monitoring is appropriate when one or a few discrete data points are sufficient and continuous data are not needed or requred for the study.

Advantages to this method are that the instrument can be freshly calibrated, damage from debris and fouling is minimized, and readings from multiple locations can be made quickly. This is all we will discuss attended monitoring on this web page.

USGS scientists collect water-quality data
Above: USGS scientists collecting water-quality data using a multiparameter sonde. (Photo: USGS)

1b. Unattended Monitoring -- the main topic of this photographic guide is the deployed, or unattended, application of water-quality sensors. The variety of deployment applications and thus the supporting infrastructure needed varies widely. Unattended stations may require telemetry if data are needed in near real time. This guide is by no means an exhaustive encyclopedia, but our hope is that a wide variety of solutions are shown that may be helpful to those who are new or looking to improve the performance of their continuous monitoring programs.

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