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Graduate Learning Through Engagement: Experience In Environmental Remote Sensing Station Design

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

New Trends in Graduate Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.650.1 - 13.650.2



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Paper Authors

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Jeffrey Marston Western Carolina University

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Brian Howell Western Carolina University

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James Zhang Western Carolina University

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Roger Clapp WATR

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Graduate Learning through Engagement: Experience in Environmental Remote Sensing Station Design

Jeffrey Marston†, Brian Howell†, James Z. Zhang†, and Roger B. Clapp‡ † Department of Engineering and Technology, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723 ‡ Watershed Association of the Tuckaseegee River, Bryson City, NC 28713


The application of remote sensing, especially in the field of environmental monitoring, has been a relatively new topic. This paper reports progress and results of two real-world environmental sensing projects and the impact on graduate learning.

The first project is the design and development of a microclimate system. This is a system for use on the land and incorporates sensors that can detect temperature, light, soil moisture, and soil temperature. The design with Crossbow motes, daughter sensor board, and powering methods will be discussed in the paper.

The second related project is a water quality monitor. The project is through the support and collaboration with a local non-profit organization, WATR. The water quality monitor has the capabilities to sense temperature, pressure, turbidity, and conductivity. In the area of Western Carolina, the turbidity of the water is very important due to the constant erosion of the mountains. WATR has asked us to build a public turbidity billboard that will be deployed in a local park in Sylva, North Carolina. This will work in unison with the water quality monitor.

This paper also reports the impact of these projects on graduate learning experience. A variety of real-world skills including infrastructure design, programming, protocol selection, data acquisition and analysis, and project management have been greatly improved through these engagement projects.

Marston, J., & Howell, B., & Zhang, J., & Clapp, R. (2008, June), Graduate Learning Through Engagement: Experience In Environmental Remote Sensing Station Design Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3366

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