Senix AirWire Local LoRa Tracks River Data Alongside USGS Monitoring
Since 2001, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has collected water-resources data in all 50 states and beyond. The organization has studied groundwater, surface water, water quality and water use through initiatives such as the National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP), which used to be known as Federal Priority Streamgages (FPS) program.
There are five goals that guide NSIP planning, one of which is data collection for future planning. Per 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.
Municipalities around the globe are learning firsthand that proper planning for flood events can help to bring about substantial improvements in protecting lives, property, and ecosystems. Data collection is a critically important tool in these efforts. Access to good data will lead to smarter land management decisions.
Senix Corporation of Hinesburg, Vermont, offers ultrasonic sensor-based monitoring systems that can help collect this valuable waterway data, called the AirWire Local LoRa system. The tool collecting the data is the Senix ToughSonic ultrasonic distance and level sensors. These tough, durable devices are housed in 316 stainless steel with fully potted electronics (rated IP68) to withstand harsh outdoor conditions for many years of reliable service in the field. The sensor data is then securely transmitted via Senix AirWire technology using efficient LoRaWAN technology.
The AirWire LoRa Transmitter Box connects to any Senix brand ToughSonic General Purpose or CHEM sensor. The Transmitter Box contains 3 D-cell alkaline batteries, which provides power to both the sensor and the LoRa Radio Transmitter. Logic in the Transmitter Box instructs the sensor when to ‘wake up’ at user defined intervals to capture measurements. The data is then sent via spread spectrum modulation over sub-gigahertz radio frequency bands to a nearby powered LoRa Receiver/Gateway device that displays the sensor output and can also be configured for data logging.
Beginning in spring of 2018, Senix has conducted field tests in the City of Montpelier, Vermont, of the AirWire Local LoRa system. 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).
Almost one year into the program, we have seen consistent results showing that the Senix system provides the same level of data accuracy as the USGS. Variance of less than .25 inches were noted on occasion, which can be attributed to the lack of synchronization of when readings were recorded in the two systems and natural diurnal temperature changes that can affect the speed of sound.
It is not only those with a USGS site that can gather and monitor with this data. Now any village or town can monitor critical steam and river heights, not only those with a USGS site. Placing additional AirWire monitoring on feeder streams can give early warning of eminent surge events during storms that can aid in response planning like street closings, avoiding water rescues. And damages