Carnegie Mellon University

What Is WaterBot?

WaterBot is a real-time conductivity sensor and data logger, designed to enable inexpensive and convenient monitoring of well and watershed systems with high temporal frequency and high spatial density. Conductivity of water is an indirect measure of Total Disolved Solids (TDS), which is a frontline indicator of water quality. Collecting baseline data and setting up mobile sensor networks in areas impacted by water source contamination is essential for citizen science and civic monitoring projects.

How WaterBot Works

1. The WaterBot Sensor collects conductivity and temperature readings from rivers, streams, and other water sources. Data is collected at a high frequency, allowing the detection of events that are invisible to other types of sensors. The WaterBot Sensor is designed for field deployment and can be powered for up to a 12-months period on one set of batteries.

2. Using Low-Power Wireless communication, a WaterBot Gateway collects the water quality data when it is in range of the Sensor. A WaterBot Gateway can take the form of a few different devices, including hend-held laptops and automotive wireless receivers. Once a dataset has been collected it is uploaded to the central server over 3G/4G mobile broadband or a Wifi connection.

3. A water quality dataset that has been stored by the central server can immediately be visualized in the WaterBot Viewer. The Viewer provides a table for finding Sensors by name, and a map for finding Sensors by geographic location. The line graph at the top of the Viewer displays fluctuations of conductivity and temperature over time. The graph is zoom-able, enabling visualization at the month-scale all the way down to the minute-scale.

Viewer Demo

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WaterBot is an initiative
of the
Carnegie Mellon University