AWS IoT and Raspberry Pi Simplify River Monitoring

 

With almost three-quarters of the world being composed of water, there’s no escaping its importance and value. 

Tracking and monitoring rivers, lakes and oceans provides insights into flood prediction, ecosystem health, water quality and more. However, this can be a difficult process that involves surveyors traveling to remote rivers and manually inspecting the flow using their equipment. 

Without IoT, it can be hard to track river flow and other variables and especially difficult to predict crises before they occur. Due to these difficulties, surveyors tend to monitor specific rivers periodically, resulting in inaccurate data and a reactive approach to potential crises.

Cellular IoT Solution Streamlines River Flow Measurement

In our recent Hackster Cellular IoT Challenge, grand-prize winner Bob Hammell engineered a cellular IoT flow meter using a Raspberry Pi Raspbian, Huawei MS2131i-8 3G cellular USB modem and Soracom cellular connectivity and services that significantly simplifies the river flow monitoring process for surveyors.

As more water enters the IoT flow meter’s sensor, the device’s wheel spins faster. Quantifying the wheel spin rate can determine how much water is traveling into the flow meter per minute. By installing a Soracom SIM card into his IoT flow meter, Bob is able to collect data from the river and send it to the cloud via SORACOM Air cellular connectivity. With this information, Bob could remotely monitor the health of the river without putting himself in danger, eliminating risk while saving time and money.

Once it arrives in the cloud, it can be visualized in real time using SORACOM Harvest, which displays live data as it streams into the platform. In addition, SORACOM Harvest could be used to measure the data collected across a range of time, allowing surveyors to remotely gather insights into trends and patterns.

If any abnormalities are found, Bob could send the data to AWS IoT and AWS CloudWatch using the SORACOM Funnel cloud adapter service so that an email notification can be sent to affected users. Depending on the variables that are being measured, this could trigger when the river height meets a critical level that could forecast flooding, when the flow rate puts kayakers, canoers and others at risk and more.

While there are costs associated with building a cellular IoT flow meter like Bob Hammell’s, the amount of man hours saved makes it well worth the investment. Plus, preventive analysis and remote access is invaluable in providing a simple seamless way to measure river flow in real time and predict potential crises before they occur.

Ushering in New Wave of IoT Innovation

Events like the Hackster Cellular IoT Challenge never cease to amaze us. Witnessing resourceful innovators like Bob Hammell and Team nowo — two software engineering students that won 3rd place in the Hackster Cellular IoT Challenge and recently published an article on Hacker Noon about their Soracom-powered IoT escooter — are a testament to the inventive and impactful solutions that IoT technology and cellular connectivity can deliver. 

Team nowo’s Cellular IoT Challenge entry (3rd Place for Most Practical)

These bright ideas are preventing crises, improving productivity and making lives easier in countless industries, and we’re proud to be a part of them.

At Soracom, we understand the value of intelligent IoT connectivity. For projects to grow and thrive in any market, they need more than just megabytes.

They need comprehensive services that provide everyday value and performance. SORACOM Funnel was a crucial component of Bob Hammell’s project, enabling his IoT flow meter to send trigger-based email notifications using AWS IoT and AWS CloudWatch based on the data.

Likewise, SORACOM Harvest allowed team nowo to display the data collected by their IoT escooter on the intuitive Soracom user console in real time.Ready to build your own IoT project? Reach out to us today and get $10 off our Cellular IoT Starter Kit featuring everything you need to build an innovative IoT solution.