Water to Cloud: A cyberphysical sensing system to monitor high frequency temporal and spatial variation in river water quality parameters


Date: 09:00:00 - Nov 22 2018
Speakers: Priyank Hirani

A significant population of the world lives within the fertile river valleys and is affected directly by the quality of water. Increased urbanization and industrialization has led to a degradation of water quality in recent decades due to contaminants from several sources - industrial, agricultural and anthropogenic. Traditional methods that include time consuming lab analysis from point measurements often lose out on event detection and fail to establish a complete picture of the health of the river. Aquatic life and the environment are the worst sufferers. Recent advances in automated, multi-parametric sensor platforms, and the emergence of Cloud based storage and data analytics have enabled the ability to obtain geo-tagged, time-stamped data at high spatial and temporal resolution over large bodies of water.

Our novel approach lies in developing a scalable, low-cost real-time sensing network using mobile sensing platforms carried around pre-selected routes to obtain high frequency temporally and spatially varying water quality data. We will describe our results from such an end-to-end publicly accessible cyberphysical sensing network that we have developed for mapping stretches of major rivers across India. Currently, we are monitoring parts of River Ganga, Yamuna and Godavari on a regular basis. This approach has also been used to monitor some lakes in Bangalore. We will describe the results of this pilot experiment that has been in operation for a couple of years, address its scalability and its potential impact towards pinpointing pollution sources, ensuring regulatory compliance, and benchmarking remediation measures. We will also present a comparative study for this type of novel sensing methodology across different locations in India. Additionally, we will present preliminary results on establishing correlations between various water quality parameters within themselves and with socio-economic variables including health, prosperity, etc.

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Priyank Hirani
Priyank Hirani (IME, University of Chicago)

Priyank Hirani received his MSc in Analog & Digital Integrated Circuit Design from Imperial College London in 2013. After graduation, he worked for Mullard Space Science Lab (University College London) before joining the Young India Fellowship (YIF) in 2015. YIF enhanced his understanding of contemporary India - its heritage, international relations, governance challenges and public policies. For the past couple years, he has been working with the International Innovation Corps, a program housed at the Harris school of Public Policy, University of Chicago and more recently with the Tata Centre for Development. Priyank leads the India operations for the Water-to-Cloud (W2C) program in India, working as its Program Manager coordinating between the science and the tech teams in India and at the Institute for Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago, USA. Working with various government and non-government stakeholders, this is a river water quality monitoring project using a novel approach involving cyberphysical sensor networks and cloud-enabled data dissemination capabilities. He hopes to inspire data-driven decision making and effective policy discussions through availability of such real-time sensor data and visualisations. Some of his team's recent work can be accessed at https://thoreau.uchicago.edu


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