Do you love Lake George? Do you want to keep it healthy and looking gorgeous? Good news, you’re not alone! IBM and the Dublin City University (DCU) Water Institute are measuring and analyzing Lake George’s water quality with a pilot program of water sensor technology in an effort to keep lakes across the world clean.
The Pilot Study
What do a computer manufacturing company and some folks from Ireland know about Lake George? As it turns out, quite a bit! IBM Research and the DCU Water Institute have teamed up to run a pilot study in Lake George to measure changes in physical, chemical, and biological properties of the lake’s water. While water quality sensor technology is not new, the Ireland-built sensors are deployed at a much lower cost than the existing commercial offerings. If the costs of the sensors are lower, then more government agencies can utilize them to collect data.
The IoT sensors set up in one of Lake George’s major tributaries observe the lake’s current health and visualize changes over time. The companies are working in partnership with the Jefferson Project – a project dedicated to using technology to preserve the lake – to turn Lake George into the world’s smartest lake.
One of the main goals of the sensors is to help environmental organizations manage agricultural runoff that contributes to pollution of bodies of water, such as Lake George. Agricultural runoff can include pollution from soil erosion, animal waste, pesticides and fertilizer. It can also trigger algae blooms which are potential public health risks. Lucky for us, IBM and DCU’s sensors can also recognize when conditions are right for algae blooms and can alert environmental management teams faster than normal detection methods.
What is IoT?
The companies take advantage of Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Internet of Things is the interconnection of physical computing devices in objects that send and receive data in communication networks via the Internet. This type of technology permits objects to be sensed and controlled remotely, which increases accuracy and efficiency while decreasing the need for human intervention.
IBM and DCU Water Institute scientists are working on integrated IoT solutions to understand and manage different ecosystem challenges, including water quality changes due to natural, artificial, or climate-related effects. Lake George is the first location in which these new sensors are being tested and will be an important stepping stone in helping protect the global environment and natural resources!
Research collected from this pilot study can help not just Lake George have cleaner water, but also aid bodies of water around the world in cleaning up their acts.
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