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CERF 2019 Workshop:

Democratizing Access to Ocean Technology

Brian Glazer

Date: Sunday, 3 November
Time: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Regular: $35
Student: $25

About this Workshop:

Commercial solutions for marine environmental sensor data loggers with remote wireless telemetry typically range in the tens of thousands of dollars per unit, limiting the number of units that can be deployed by well-funded researchers, and being cost-prohibitive for scholastic K-12 programs, nonprofit NGOs, or interested community groups. With recent increased availability of low-cost, open-source, compact micro-controllers, single-board computers, and high-quality sensors, new possibilities are emerging for environmental sensing of aquatic environments at a fraction of the cost that it once was to build sensor-data systems from scratch. Because of the increased emphasis of the scientific community on interdisciplinary research, more and more researchers want to deploy multi-parameter measurement sensor networks, and because more and more STEM students and citizens are becoming interested in environmental monitoring, climate change, and coastal flooding, there is a growing need for affordable coastal marine sensors and data throughput that would in some ways parallel the popular personal weather station model used by WeatherUnderground

The over-arching objective of this four-hour workshop is to make more widely available new, low-cost instruments for understanding spatial and temporal variability of coastal water level and tidal processes that threaten communities through nuisance flooding and sea level rise. The rate of technological advancements has exploded in the last decade and the costs of emerging embedded systems’ components have decreased, providing unprecedented opportunities to reach out to undergraduate and public audiences and engage interest in STEM. Few of these advancements have yet been directly applied to the oceans, providing a timely opportunity to match highest priority environmental science research questions with enabling technologies over unprecedented spatial and temporal scales (thus empowering scientists, and promoting public understanding).

Opportunities for participants to exchange lessons learned and emerging challenges from their home watersheds, as well as specific training for low-cost, high-resolution water level and temperature sensors will be provided. We will pre-package, distribute, and demonstrate DIY sensor kits to monitor and quantify in near-real-time coastal tides, inundation, and beach run-up risks.  The workshop has the potential to fundamentally begin transforming our capability for monitoring and predicting coastal hydrology, inundation, and nuisance flooding by augmenting NOAA tide gauge spatial variability at unprecedented scales; the end result will be a ‘mentored community scientist’ approach that leads to reliable crowd-sourced coastal observing data.