4A.2 Low-Cost Crowdsourcing Sensor Package for Drought-Related Decision Making

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 8:45 AM
Room 17A (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Chris Phillips, Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL; and U. Nair and C. Handyside

In situ observations of rainfall and soil moisture are critical to drought related decision making. However, such observations are available only at very coarse spatial scales. Due to the availability of inexpensive microprocessor and computing systems it is easy to build sensor packages that are amenable for crowdsourcing solutions to address this data gap. This presentation will detail the development of a Raspberry Pi based crowdsourcing sensor platform for collection of rainfall, soil moisture, and soil temperature measurements. For rainfall and soil temperature measurements, commercial off the shelves sensors are utilized. For soil moisture sensing, a gypsum soil moisture sensor, fabricated using plaster of paris is utilized. In order to ensure uniform standards for the sensor, we utilize 3D printed molds. These sensor packages are planned for deployment though extension programs, NWS cooperative observers, Master Gardner programs, and K-12 schools. The presentation will include details on the development and performance of the sensor packages and experiences in deployment of the systems.
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