Asee peer logo

Implementing a Real-time Water and Weather Quality Monitoring System with Applications in Sustainability Education

Download Paper |


2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Hands-on Laboratory and Design Experiences in Environmental Engineering

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.733.1 - 25.733.23



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Parhum Delgoshaei Virginia Tech

visit author page

Parhum Delgoshaei is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. His research interests include design and implementation of real-time monitoring and control systems with applications in energy and environmental sustainability education and developing sustainability curriculum.

visit author page


Vinod K. Lohani Virginia Tech

visit author page

Vinod K. Lohani is a professor at Virginia Tech's Engineering Education Department. His research interests are in engineering education, hydrology, and international collaboration.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Implementing a Real-Time Water and Weather Quality Monitoring System with Applications in Sustainability Education AbstractThis paper presents the implementation of a real-time water quality monitoring system developedto enhance water sustainability education in a large freshman engineering curriculum. Thissystem, called LabVIEW Enabled Watershed Assessment System (LEWAS), is an extension ofthe hands-on data acquisition modules that have been successfully implemented using LabVIEWsoftware in the first freshman engineering course at a large public university. LEWAS introducesstudents to acquiring data from environmental sensors in addition to temperature and motionsensors introduced earlier in the course that also follow the LabVIEW dataflow programmingparadigm.LEWAS measures water flow and water quality parameters (turbidity, dissolved Oxygen,conductivity, pH and temperature) – as indicators of stream health for an on-campus impairedstream in real-time. In addition, the system measures weather quality parameters (barometricpressure, temperature, wind speed and direction, precipitation and humidity) at the site in realtime. Other components of the system installed in the field include a solar powered electricalpower supply system with backup battery, high gain wireless antenna and wireless bridge (forcommunication with the campus wireless Internet network), and an embedded computer runningLabVIEW with modules for data processing and storage which is programmed to collect, store andcommunicate data.About 1300 students in the first freshman engineering course were given access to LEWASthrough a Web-based interface that enabled them to view live data from the installation site on thestream and control the LabVIEW program, Virtual Instrument (VI), remotely. Attitudinal datacollected from students indicate the majority of students agree with the statement that access toreal-time environmental data can enhance their awareness and curiosity about environmentalissues such as the state of an impaired stream that runs through campus. Most students alsobelieved that remote access to real-time data makes environmental monitoring easier compared tocollecting water samples at the site and measuring its parameters. Furthermore, a strong majorityof students agreed with the statement that real-time water quality monitoring is useful forenvironmental sustainability. The authors plan to extend the use of the this cost effective yet highlyaccessible system to higher level civil and environmental engineering courses to provide anauthentic context for problem solving involving environmental parameters of an impaired stream.

Delgoshaei, P., & Lohani, V. K. (2012, June), Implementing a Real-time Water and Weather Quality Monitoring System with Applications in Sustainability Education Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21490

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015