GatorByte – A Low-Cost, Real-Time Water Resource Monitoring Platform

Poster 214 – Click on poster below to view presentation from author.

Click on poster to view presentation from author.

Piyush Agade

University of Florida

Co-Authors: Eban Bean

Water resource monitoring tools available on the market today are often cost-prohibitive to water resource professionals. The tools have proprietary hardware and software that may prevent them from being customized as per specific requirements. The primary objective of this project is to develop a low-cost, compact, real-time, and mobile data-logging platform that can be customized according to specific applications. The platform includes a mobile and water-tight buoy that collects the water-quality metrics, a cloud-based remote server and datahub, and a web-based dashboard that shows the real-time data using interactive charts and maps. The data-logger is built using inexpensive and easily available components and sensors, 3D-printed housing, and inhouse-designed circuit board to enhance the availability, reproducibility, customizability, and maintenance of the system. The data-logger is built around Particle family of Arduino-compatible 4G-enabled microcontrollers, allowing researchers access to the Internet right out-of-the-box. The buoy has the following basic water-quality sensors- pH, temperature, Dissolved Oxygen, and electroconductivity. The datalogger also collects spatial data using an onboard GPS, which will allow users to getting better insights into the variation of water-quality metrics over both space and time. The data-logger also employs various power, data storage, and transmission optimization strategies to extend the operational life. With a small, acorn-like form factor with an outer radius of 5.5 in., the data-logger can easily float down a stream, a lake, or a stormwater drain.

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All posts are publicly visible after review by site administrator. Students’ responses to posted questions is factored into scoring for the poster competition. Finalists announced May 25 and awards presented May 26, 2021.


2 thoughts on “GatorByte – A Low-Cost, Real-Time Water Resource Monitoring Platform

  1. This is super interesting, Piyush! In your presentation you mention that there are several generations of this device. How many iterations have you gone through, and were there any dramatic changes? Also, do you have a cost estimate for fabricating one of these devices?


    1. Hello David,
      Thank you for your questions.

      1. We have gone over 5 iterations of the circuit board design. In each iteration, the size of the board got smaller, we switched from through-hole components to surface-mount devices (which are a lot smaller), added peripherals like GPS, SD card module, accelerometer. In the latest iteration the circuit board design saw a big change, we made the circuit board modular- comprising a customizable sensor-board, and a microcontroller hat that sits on the top of the sensor board.

      2. The 3D printed enclosure has gone through around 3 major refreshes. The first generation (cylindrical shape) was a watertight elongated and opaque PVC pipe. The second-generation enclosure (cylindrical shape) had a transparent pipe (~2 in. diameter) and had 3D printed ends. The front-end housed the antenna and battery, while the rear end housed the sensors and the printed circuit board. The current (third) generation has gone through a complete overhaul. The shape resembles an acorn. The components are placed tightly packed making the whole enclosure compact. Even the sensors in the latest iterations are a lot smaller than in the previous ones.

      3. Just like the hardware, even the firmware went through a big change. The firmware is now modular (vs. a monolith piece of code). Users can now add new sensors or remove them and interface them in the firmware with standardized functions. For instance, each sensor will have a .on(), .off(), .read(), and .calibrate() functions.

      3. Regarding the cost estimates, the whole system (enclosure, circuit board and its components, and sensors) cost approximately $1500.


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