Here's the high-wire act in which I describe the West Virginia University sensor-journalism project with 20 slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds. This took place in a room of brilliant thinkers at Newsgeist 2015 earlier this month in Phoenix.
Yesterday the Streamlab class put do-it-yourself water monitors into Gatorade bottles and anchored them in the Monongahela River near Morgantown, West Virginia. They’re now texting their data readings live.
We’re sensing conductivity, which is a good indicator of dissolved solids in the water, and temperature. The locations are: upstream of an industrial site, downstream of the same site and further downstream below the Morgantown lock and dam.
A summer of tinkering has culminated with a conductivity and temperature sensor that texts its data from inside a Gatorade bottle.
The plan is to submerge several of these along a stretch of the Monongahela River as part of a sensor-journalism class at West Virginia University. It’s a work in progress, but you can [see how things are going]. My job was to build a working conductivity sensor that would report its findings live. Here are the components and how I made it go.
Update: We actually deployed some of these sensors in a river!
In just a few weeks, a class of journalism students will be wading into West Virginia streams to deploy water sensors.
They’ll be sensing water conductivity over several weeks using a cool, Arduino-like board called Riffle.
But the crux of the system is a simple circuit I tried for the first time tonight.