Sensors provide environmental data to assist project planning

Date published: 24 February 2017

Townsville school students are learning the skills they need for future jobs, by creating and deploying environmental sensors at Ross Creek (Hanran Park) as part of a wider collaborative project between Townsville City Council, James Cook University and Origin Energy.

Six students from Townsville State High, William Ross State High, Willows State School and Oonoonba State School spent many afternoons late last year building the low-cost sensors at the Rowes Bay Sustainability Centre.

The Rowes Bay Sensor Network Project has given students the opportunity to build sensors that measure temperature, humidity, light, sound and soil moisture, with the data being shared to provide insight for planning developments and deploying council resources.

Community Health and Environment Committee chair Cr Ann-Maree Greaney said the project connected schools and students to the local and global community, giving them the skills to embrace the technology in the future.

“The students have worked hard to design what they thought would work, solder and code the sensors and then undertake test deployment to find any faults,” Cr Greaney said.

“They also had to analyse previously deployed sensors from the same areas to determine what may have gone wrong, see what could be salvaged so that components didn’t have to be re-bought.

“The final step is the deployment.”

Cr Greaney said the research generated would be translated to everyday life and future jobs.

“This information gives us a unique understanding about our Townsville environments to enable developments to proceed and support decision making for energy, water and nature that ultimately protects the environment,” she said.

The project has successfully engaged with students and science clubs with the aim of engaging students in the environment, building their job thinking capacity and linking those interested in technology.

The data captured by the sensors is transmitted via a local Internet of Things (IoT) network, which sends it to the internet where the students can view their data.