Understanding and protecting our environmental assets relies on the ability to accurately and effectively collect data. Not just any data, but data that can be relied on. So what happens when flights stop? When travel restrictions come into place? What happens when mine sites, businesses and construction sites shut? Does that mean that data isn’t required anymore?
Now more than ever it is important for us to be getting valuable environmental data during times of minimal human interference. When most office workers can choose to work from home, environmental field personnel must continue working in the field to make sure that environmental data is still collected. Remote telemetry solutions are a fantastic tool to ensure environmental monitoring, compliance, and maintain project continuity when physical access is tricky.
by Daniel Condon, Associate Environmental Scientist
02 9493 9500
Getting the most out of remote telemetry
There are huge advantages and benefits when it comes to using remote logging and telemetry:
- More data
Autonomous and unattended logging gives us the power to monitor micro changes in the environment in real time. Surface water flow events, weather changes, water quality fluctuations and gas emission events can start and finish in a matter of hours or even minutes. Without rapid data capture from autonomous logging, these events would be unrecorded if they occurred outside the window of a traditional monthly, quarterly or biannually monitoring program.
- Operational efficiencies
The rapid data capture can then be converted into a rapid response. Companies stand to make huge savings in operational efficiencies by being able to respond to changes quickly. Whether this is turning on pumps to keep water levels stable, treating water quality if worsens, or dust suppression on construction sites if the air quality changes.
The ability to rapidly mitigate a potential issue (eg a spill) before it becomes a serious breach in an environmental licence regulation is a massive benefit.
Every time a person leaves the office, drives to site, accesses a monitoring location, gathers data and returns home there are safety risk involved. Field personnel, such as environmental scientists, engineers, ecologists, and hydrogeologists are often collecting data from locations that present a large number of potential safety hazards. Replacing manual human-led data capture with a smart sensor system can greatly reduce the amount of time a person is exposed to those safety risks.
- Long term money saver
For many long-term monitoring projects, the cost to set up and operate a remote telemetry system will be a similar cost or cheaper than manual data collection using field personnel.
The importance of remote sensor technology coupled with cloud-based real-time data presentation methods has never been more relevant. We are currently in a time where site access is severely restricted and some sites cannot be accessed at all. The COVID-19 lockdown has shown us that we can no longer rely on the assumption of continual physical access to our sites and we must start utilising and embracing innovative technology solutions.
Postscript – technology and sensors will never replace humans! Monitoring equipment needs maintenance, cleaning, and calibration, and there are some instances where human data collection just cannot be replaced.