UAS-based Real-Time Water Quality Monitoring, Sampling, and Visualization Platform (UASWQP)
Urbanization, land use change, and agricultural activities continue to affect water quality standards at the urban-rural interface, such as the Boise River System located in Idaho, USA. This project demonstrates how the off-the-shelf unmanned aircraft system (UAS, also known as drone) equipped with other necessary hardware attachments can be used to monitor real-time water quality components, including pH, water temperature, electric conductivity (EC), and dissolved oxygen at open waterbodies. The proposed UAS-based hardware platform for water quality studies (UASWQP) appears a promising tool to advance environmental research activities, especially for impaired waterways (e.g., rivers, lakes, and reservoirs). The preliminary result shows that the proposed UASWQP effectively displays water quality components in real-time to the ThingSpeak Cloud web services, while an adequate water sample was also collected easily for further analysis at laboratory facilities, when needed. It is anticipated that UASWQP will be a useful tool to promote environmental stewardship by contributing to the water research communities in years to come.