BC Ministry of Environment, River Forecast Center

BC Ministry of Environment, River Forecast Center

Canadian provincial government organization dedicated to managing water resources and reducing impacts of floods and droughts.

Environment

Dense, high altitude forests in a region that includes sections of the Rocky Mountains west of Jasper, Alberta to Lillooet, British Columbia. Remote mountain areas with heavy seasonal snowfall.

  • somewhat to extremely remote (15-minute to several hour helicopter journey)

Challenge

  • stations are remote, and therefore expensive to get to ($2,000 – $6,000)
  • reliability issues often necessitated unplanned site visits
  • existing dataloggers required laptop to program, configure, setup, diagnose, etc. (time and money required to maintain and repair laptop)
  • cold temperatures would dramatically reduce battery life
  • in addition to main laptop, redundant laptop was required to ensure success of costly trip
  • bulk and extra weight of laptop plus redundant laptop could add up to 50 lbs and displace other needed items like safety packs and food in case technicians are required to spend the night at remote site
  • terminal strip connections are difficult to wire in the cold and take upwards of 30-40 minutes to swap out the datalogger
  • terminal strip connections mean wiring mistakes are not uncommon, resulting in bad data and an unplanned visits
  • time spent at remote site is costly—helicopter is billed by the hour, and when station visit takes too long, helicopter often can’t wait so will leave site and return, doubling the cost
  • due to budget cuts, headcount had been reduced by 50%
  • department was tasked with maintaining the same amount and accuracy of data, with half the previous workforce
  • site visit reports completed manually, adding extra time on site

Solution

With FTS’ Axiom H2 Dataloggers, the water data technicians are able to eliminate the need to take laptops and cables into the field. The built-in interface and USB port allows the ministry staff to travel light and spend less time at each site. As a result, more stations can be visited in one single trip. The data is immediately accessible and is quickly downloaded onto a standard USB memory stick.

With independent SDI-12 ports built in as standard, sensors are easily and quickly deployed. Watertight bayonet connectors ensure rapid and reliable connectivity of sensors to the Axiom Datalogger.

Results

  • now much easier to configure, install, diagnose problems
  • data is much more reliable
  • dramatically reduced incidents requiring unplanned site visits
  • integrated touchscreen eliminates need for laptops
  • bayonet connectors permit datalogger swapping in under 2 minutes
  • multiple independent SDI ports mean no reconfiguring of sensors during datalogger swaps, even for analog sensors, which are converted to SDI-12
  • site visit reports are now electronic and fully automated, requiring no extra time
  • most site visits are under an hour, permitting the helicopter to wait on site and eliminating doubling of cost
  • with half the previous headcount, no reduction of data was experienced and reliability has increased
  • time spent on site maintaining dataloggers reduced by 75%; now permits more station maintenance and instrument calibration

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