Radars for Hydrological Monitoring

Acrotec Foundation installed at the Savona campus of the University of Genoa six monitoring stations to provide information to prevent floods, avoid landslides or fires. In order to solve uncertainties of measurement, VEGAPULS WL 61 radar has been chosen

by Vittoria Ascari

The measurement of environmental parameters such as the intensity of rainfall and wind, temperature and air humidity are decisive instruments in different fields of application. For example, it’s possible forecast floods monitoring rainfalls and checking the streams’ level. However, the massive integration of monitoring stations and instrumentations clash with an economic problem: most of the systems on the market are covered by industrial property rights and are handed out “turnkey” model, which entails high costs, especially if multiplied in numerous observation stations.
Paradigma Acronet, an open hardware project – the free hardware model, without copyright – led by Acronet, wanted to overcame these difficulties that increase the measurement stations to obtain data and trends more precise. The 80% of the costs of a commercial standard solution are industrial and setup costs. Acronet choses to cut these costs.

Handy kits for assembly and setup of stations
Acrotec Foundation is partner and spin-off of CIMA Research Foundation, they work together on translating research into operational tools for disaster risk prevention and mitigation, to institutions and countries worldwide. CIMA Research Foundation is a non-profit research organization committed to promote the study, scientific research, technological development and higher education in engineering and environmental sciences, within the fields of civil protection, public health and aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems conservation. Acrotec Foundation proposed the free hardware model in which all planning documents, technical drawings and electronic schemes are free and available on the network. Moreover, all measured values are always available free of charge and in real time with a refresh rate of few minutes. It’s also possible increase the measurement stations on territory because Acronet provides handy kits for assembly and setup of stations and instrumentations.

Short radar pulses to measure away from the water surface
At Savona campus of the University of Genoa six monitoring stations have been installed to provide information to prevent floods, avoid landslides or fires. That is Acrolab laboratory, part of a bigger project relating to environmental monitoring systems, mainly meteorological and hydrological. For river monitoring, as flood alarm, ultrasonic system was previously used. However, the measure was not very reliable because of atmospheric conditions. Uncertainties of measurement have been solved by VEGAPULS WL 61 radar. This product uses short radar pulses to measure away from the water surface. Signals spread independent of ambient conditions, in this way the measurement is not influenced from temperature variations, fog, rain or snow and the precision remains high in all conditions. The flood-proof IP 68 housing ensures a maintenance-free permanent operation. The setup is simple with Bluetooth. VEGA provides MyVEGA app for the instrument adjustment via smartphone or tablet. The app use is simple and intuitive with a graphical support that helps the consultation; the menu layout is also the same of PACTware/DTM.