Established in 1879, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is an organization that monitors and analyzes the health of the environment of the United States.

The Project

In an effort to better understand the water quality flowing into the Great Lakes, the USGS is monitoring the main tributaries to analyze the nutrient, sediment, and toxic substance loads in the waterways feeding the Great Lakes. The information collected will be used to establish a baseline, measure restoration progress, and assess new threats to these bodies of water.


The USGS team installed ISCO samplers to measure the water quality, including O2, pH, turbidity, and conductivity, but found that there were glitches and bugs when connecting to the datalogger in their original configuration. When they learned of the positive reputation the FTS Axiom H2 DCP had working with ISCO autosamplers, they purchased four units for their monitoring stations. While the H2 dataloggers were working well with the ISCO units and were easy to program with the integrated graphical touchscreen, the team found it difficult to configure the DCP to communicate properly with the acoustic velocity meters they were using. After trying multiple configurations, they were unable to effectively gather some of the information they required.


The Michigan team opted to send an acoustic velocity meter to FTS so the engineering team could identify the problem. After thorough testing and troubleshooting, it was determined that while the velocity meter was marketed as being SDI-12 capable, it was a non-standard SDI-12 protocol implementation and this caused the communications failure between the units. Once this incompatibility was identified, the engineering team designed a custom program and returned the equipment to the USGS team along with the program to be installed via a USB memory stick. With the update in place, the equipment was able to be connected in the field and the team reports they have not noticed any problems since.

Where other manufacturers weren’t willing or able to develop a solution for their communication challenges, the FTS team saw this as an opportunity to make our customer successful.