Environmental monitoring in Local Governments is a very important component of the decision-making process. Knowing what the residents experience when outside in the park, around lakes and reserves and understanding the impact of the human element is critical in creating the right policies and frameworks.

But how do you monitor the environment ? With sensors of course. There are literally thousands of videos showing users how to experiment and gather information on air, water and soil quality. Most of the sensors are experimental level and , while they provide good data, they cannot be used in commercial projects. 

 

Potential to use of the data:

  • irrigation monitoring.   Impact to the soil moisture profile as a result of different watering regimes and weather events.
  •  Assess impact on water quality by weather events and human interaction (fertiliser use)
  • Real time data collection for interested parties such as Water Corporation and DWER.
  • The existing sensors and minor additions can provide real time visualisation of the water balanceBOM data integration for weather events impact analysis. This will show the dynamics of the water catchment in the park and also give an indication of the water being transferred to the other ponds downstream. The platform can do all calculations.
  • Water seepage and evaporation can be both shown in the platform as one measurement. The addition of an evaporation pan will also facilitate the display of seepage through simple mathematical calculation in real time, all done though the platform
  • Mosquito control through Water quality improvement  – fish, frogs – WA health website (strategy): “biological (eg. introduction of aquatic predators to reduce mosquito larvae)” – existing platform already provide water quality data
  • Crowd Density Monitoring.  Analyse event performance and marketing campaign.  Visualise in real time impact of health events and lock-downs.  Visualise in real time performance of developments -: new foot paths, park features, carparks, etc

 

 

Enter commercial sensors

 

When it comes to monitoring soil, air and water from one unified hardware platform, it is hard to go past the Libelium offer. Libelium is an IoT hardware developer based in Spain with an extensive range of integrated products.

SimplyCity Australia uses Libelium products on a regular basis to deliver the required data to various stakeholders. Our experience is that one key element in a successful deployment is tailoring the product to meet the requirement.  Unlike the expectation that everything is plug-and-play, commercial deployments are at their best when the code is customised for the application. This reduces the impact on the data transfer and storage, and optimises the use of the airwaves.

Libelium suite of products is a very flexible range but it all comes down to the integrator and its capabilities in producing the right capability suite for the project.

 

It is, thus, easy to create a solution which monitors:

  • Water quality in a pond, lake, storm water drain, dam, billabong or water treatment basin, etc.
  • Air quality around residential developments, mining operations (dust monitoring), intersections, parks, etc.
  • Soil quality and moisture in parks, reserves, nurseries
  • Other parameters such as weather pattern, noise, rainfall, solar radiation, plant development, etc.

Furthermore, a project is not complete with just sensors. The full solution will also comprise of a data network of some sort which will carry the readings to an end point as well as the end point itself. Usually, the latter is a platform.

This is another critical element. If the platform offered is restrictive and only allows one type of data to be displayed, the investment in it does not present much value. The visualisation platform should be able to:

  • Receive data from deployed sensors
  • Integrate with other data sources such as other websites and other systems
  • Retain data for a determined period
  • Forward data to the customer’s long term storage database
  • Present data in various forms
  • Be able to raise alarms and trigger notifications and actions based on events.
  • Be easy to operate with minimal training
  • Allow quick export of reports
  • Allow a range of sensors from different manufacturers to be integrated

 

With this in mind,  SimplyCity has developed SimplyControl. SimplyControl is the platform which will integrate with the customer’s systems as well as its sensor network. 

The purpose is to allow the customer to visualise in a unified dashboard all required elements. This information will, then, enable the customer to drive real decisions such as:

  • Adjusting watering schedules in parks and reserves based on real soil information
  • Automatically trigger or stop aeration pumps in ponds, lakes, etc. This will in turn reduce dramatically wear and tear on equipment thus driving down the maintenance cost
  • Easily share data to educate residents with regards to the correct use of fertiliser and the impact of over use of fertilisers on water bodies.
  • Implements solutions for reducing the impact of noise on residents and wildlife

 

Data collected via these sensors can be easily shared with various stakeholders in the organisation. Multiple users will have access with no cost increase due to number of logins.

It is then easy to see why proper IoT based monitoring is more than just networks and dropping some sensors here and there.  The decision to engage such integrators has to take in account:

  • Capabilities
  • Experience
  • Knowledge of the environment to be monitored
  • Flexibility of integration and platform used
  • Knowledge of technology

 

For more information on results driven monitoring, contact Nick Dragan, Senior IoT Consultant for SimplyCity at 0400 623 392