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Environmental Sensor Telemetry Systems

Environmental Sensor Telemetry Systems

Missing Link

Affordable data relay technology links sensors in the field to desktops in the lab

Challenge

Coastal water quality monitoring is a 24/7 process, one that generates data that resource managers need to make decisions that protect ecosystems and human health. Moving that data from a sensor in a water body to a laboratory desktop, however, can be expensive and technically challenging. Transmission by radio signals has limited range, cellular phone coverage is not always available, and the use of some satellite systems can send monitoring costs into orbit. To stay in real-time touch with water quality conditions, managers need technology solutions that are cost-effective, durable, and convenient.

Response

With a grant from CICEET, North Star Science and Technology, LLC, has developed the Remote Access Satellite Sensor Link (RASSL), an affordable, data communications system that provides real-time communication with water-quality sensor platforms in the field.

Designed to connect to a YSI sensor platform, the RASSL unit combines a satellite transmitter, sensor interface, and data logger to create a communication link between a sensor in the field and a ground station.

The RASSL can be programmed to transmit data as often as necessary—from every few minutes to every few hours.
After the data is uploaded to the satellite, it is relayed to a password protected website. From there, water quality managers can remotely monitor a variety of parameters, including dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, salinity, and nitrate levels.
The RASSL unit hooks up to the more cost-effective Globalstar satellite system, which uses forty-eight satellites to provide a wide breadth of coverage. Managers can program the RASSL to transmit data as often as necessary—from every few minutes
to every few hours. It can be set to monitor for “alarm” conditions,
sending data only when a certain water quality threshold has been reached. The system’s compactness and ease of installation make it ideal for temporary monitoring situations.

The Remote Access Satellite Sensor Link (RASSL), an affordable, data communications system that provides real-time, two-way communication with water-quality sensor platforms in the field.

Impact

The RASSL unit is field-ready, commercially available, and in use in National Estuarine Research Reserve’s sites in Georgia, Virginia, New Hampshire, Delaware, Maryland, Florida, and South Carolina. Though originally developed to work with YSI sensors, the technology is adaptable for other sensors that output digital or analog signals. For example, North Star has integrated RASSL with sondes developed by Remote Data Systems that measure wetland water levels. Researchers interested in adapting the RASSl to their sensor platforms should contact North Star Science and Technology, LLC.

Learn more

Mr. Blake Henke
North Star Science and Technology,LLC
410.961.6692
blakehenke@msn.com
https://www.northstarst.com