Open Source Hardware for DIY Environmental Sensing

Monday, 15 December 2014
Steven D Hicks, Anthony Keith Aufdenkampe, Sara Geleskie Damiano and David S Montgomery, Stroud Water Research Center, Avondale, PA, United States
The Arduino open source electronics platform has been very popular within the DIY (Do It Yourself) community for several years, and it is now providing environmental science researchers with an inexpensive alternative to commercial data logging and transmission hardware. Here we present the designs for our latest series of custom Arduino-based dataloggers, which include wireless communication options like self-meshing radio networks and cellular phone modules. The main Arduino board uses a custom interface board to connect to various research-grade sensors to take readings of turbidity, dissolved oxygen, water depth and conductivity, soil moisture, solar radiation, and other parameters. Sensors with SDI-12 communications can be directly interfaced to the logger using our open Arduino-SDI-12 software library (https://github.com/StroudCenter/Arduino-SDI-12). Different deployment options are shown, like rugged enclosures to house the loggers and rigs for mounting the sensors in both fresh water and marine environments. After the data has been collected and transmitted by the logger, the data is received by a mySQL-PHP stack running on a web server that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Once there, the data can be visualized on web pages or served though REST requests and Water One Flow (WOF) services. Since one of the main benefits of using open source hardware is the easy collaboration between users, we are introducing a new web platform for discussion and sharing of ideas and plans for hardware and software designs used with DIY environmental sensors and data loggers.