UTA is developing a network of sensors to monitor the air conditioning

image: Ingleside’s shoreline on the bay is low and unprotected in places, making it vulnerable to flooding.
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Credit: UT Arlington

A civil engineer from the University of Texas at Arlington is working with a coastal city in Texas to develop a low-cost sensor network that will help the community monitor the effects of climate change.

Michelle Hummel, assistant professor in the College of Engineering at UTA, received a grant of $ 150,000 from the National Science Foundation to work with the town of Ingleside on the Bay, Texas. The city has suffered environmental impacts on its community due to higher tides, ship wakes, and air and water pollution caused by industrial growth.

The main co-researchers on the project are:

  • Yonghe Liu, associate professor of computer science and engineering;
  • Karabi Bezboruah, associate professor of town planning at the College of Architecture, Town Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA);
  • Oswald Jenewein, assistant professor of architecture at CAPPA; and
  • Kathryn Masten, former resident of Ingleside on the Bay and President and CEO of Masten-Cain Consulting. Masten is an expert in community computing, or the use of information and communication technologies in community development.

Citizens of Ingleside on the Bay, located near Corpus Christi, have expressed concern about climate change and its impact on the community due to the city’s exposed shoreline, as well as fears that the growth of the oil industry can have a negative impact on air and water quality.

Hummel and his team will create a low-cost sensor network to monitor air and water quality and flood potential, then transfer the data to an online dashboard. They will host a community meeting this fall to get feedback from residents on where air and water quality stations and flood monitoring sensors should be installed based on local knowledge of the hazards and hazards. vulnerabilities.

State and federal agencies operate sensors in the region, but they are generally expensive and lack local coverage. The low-cost sensors that Hummel will use will provide better coverage throughout the community to help detect street-level impacts and will be tested against existing research-grade sensors for validation.

In addition to sensor deployment and data collection, the research team will also assess existing communication and information sharing networks in the region to understand how local organizations engage in environmental policy making. and authorization processes. This could help identify links with other community groups or regulatory bodies that should be formed or strengthened to improve future advocacy efforts.

Ultimately, the research team aims to help the community collect, analyze and use environmental data more effectively so that residents have more of a say in the activities that take place around them.

“By bringing together physical and social scientists and working directly with local residents and community groups to co-design our research approach, we can better address the complex challenges facing Ingleside on the Bay and work towards more sustainable solutions. and community-oriented, ”Hummel said.


Written by Jeremy Agor, College of Engineering

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