Low-cost Hyperspectral Handheld Radiometer System for Improved Spatial and Temporal Water Quality Monitoring

Karl Bosse1, Robert A Shuchman1, Michael Sayers1 and Reid Sawtell2, (1)Michigan Tech Research Inst, Ann Arbor, MI, United States, (2)Michigan Tech Research Inst, Ann Arbor, United States
Spectroradiometric measurements of surface water can provide valuable information about the bio-geochemical composition including phytoplankton type and abundance, sediment concentration, carbon stocks, water clarity, and presence of harmful algae. While satellite ocean color remote sensing has shown great utility to provide global water quality information, limitations exist for optically complex inland waters. Spectroradiometers deployed in the field offer the capability to resolve small scale spatial features such as cyanobacteria blooms that orbiting platforms may not. Historically, in-situ radiometric devices are expensive and require significant user expertise and therefore often prohibit measurements at the spatial and temporal scales needed to fully characterize the water quality phenomena of interest. The Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI) has developed a new low-cost high-fidelity radiometric instrument that can be used to better monitor water quality in challenging environments. The instrument is a handheld radiometer system which uses an off-the-shelf NoIR webcam detector and 3D printed optical housing. A controlling application for smartphones or tablets has also been created to guide non-experts through the measurement process to ensure quality data is collected. The low cost nature of this solution allows for the potential distribution of many radiometers to citizen scientists and water managers toward the formation of a distributed sensor network.