ERCIM News No.26 - July 1996 - INESC

Remote Monitoring of Water Levels

by Alexandra Sá Carvalho

INESC's Centres of Automation of SMEs and of Mobile and Personal Communications have just completed a joint project with Hidrorumo, an EDP Group (Electricidade de Portugal) company, for the remote monitoring of river water levels.

The system is made up of a network of remote stations, positioned next to the monitoring sites and equipped with one or several sensors, a data acquisition and processing system (which will also act as the physical interface with the sensors) a storage and satellite based (Inmarsat C) transmission system and a stand alone solar power system. The collected data is transmitted via an earth station to a PC in the Control Centre which has been equipped with two software modules: one as an interface and reception of the data transmitted by the earth station and another for information processing, storage and visualisation applications.

The Centre of Mobile and Personal Communications, based in Lisbon, was responsible for supplying the storage and transmission system from the remote stations and the interface and reception software for the data from the Control Centre (having made use of the results from INESC's project for monitoring of fishing activities, MONICAP). The other parts of the programme were developed by the Automation Centre, in Oporto, which was also responsible for the operating specifications, tests and validation of the system.

There are currently two stations in operation, respectively on the Rivers Guadiana and Coa connected to a Control Centre located in Hidrorumo's Oporto installations. The systems have already been tested and validated by the company and the possibility of broadening their use to cover other sites, both in Portugal and abroad, are currently being analysed in conjunction with INESC.

Hidrorumo's technical staff are now able to enjoy the real-time capture of readings from sensors located in rough terrain areas and are able to react promptly based on the sudden movements of upstream water levels, permitting, among others, a more efficient and rational management of the water stored in the reservoirs and the rate of discharge, the control of which can be critical in the event of sudden weather changes. From INESC's viewpoint, these types of solution may have other applications such as the control of water quality and other environmental applications.

Please contact:
Alexandra Sá Carvalho - INESC
Tel: +351 1 3100377

return to the contents page