The SWSL is a full-featured electronics development laboratory with the equipment and infrastructure required to design, create and test novel circuits and systems. This includes laboratory space for field preparation and testing of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and electronics.
Field Preparation and Fieldwork
Workbenches, battery chargers, computers and power supplies are available to prepare UAVs, drones and circuits for field deployment. Survey equipment includes a total station theodolite (TST) used to obtain ground truth data. A permant fixed-position GPS base station in the laboratory (available mid-2019) allows for indoor testing of devices with GPS receivers and also permits for differential GPS corrections. Facilities are available for year-round testing of electronics. Fieldwork is conducted at sites operated by Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS) and Global Water Futures (GWF) partner universities.
Servers and Data Processing
Built and designed in-lab, custom computer systems and servers are available for setup, design and testing of experimental networks and wireless sensors. Office space for students and researchers is also available for data analysis and processing.
Circuit Development and Testing
Oscilloscopes, power supplies, function generators, multimeters, programmers and test equipment are available for prototyping. A professional reflow oven and stencil printer allows for in-lab production of surface-mount Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). An environmental chamber with a temperature and relative humidity controller is used for testing circuits and systems at low to high temperatures.
3D Printing and Scanning
A professional 3D printer and two 3D scanners are available for creating enclosure cases and mechanical mounting hardware for sensors. Materials used for 3D printing are engineering-grade and UV-stabilized for outdoor use.
Virtual Reality (VR)
A small classroom set of Oculus Rift Virtual Reality (VR) devices are available for examination of LIDAR and augmented reality data associated with sensor networks.
Key Areas of Research
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
A number of UAVs are available for mapping of landscapes during the snow-covered and snow-free seasons. The UAVs owned and operated by the SWSL are deployed at field sites in the Prairies and Rocky Mountains. UAV platforms manufactured and configured by DJI International, Sensefly, and DraganFly are available for use in research projects. We support local Saskatchewan businesses such as DraganFly.
Photo Credit: Alistair Wallace / Phil Harder
Sensors and Systems
SWSL designs, develops and tests sensors and systems that measure all components of the hydrological cycle. The sensors are self-calibrating with onboard signal processing for in-field feedback and rapid data availability. Sensors are equipped with network interfaces such as WiFi and LoRa. SWSL research is focussed on the use of active and passive technologies involving acoustics, electromagnetic waves, visible and near-infrared cameras as well as LIDAR and GPS.
Photo Credit: Robin Heavens
Software licenses for professional mechanical and electrical CAD software are available for researchers and students. In lieu of purchasing commercial off-the-shelf hardware, circuit boards and systems are designed in-lab.
Ubiquitous Data Processing
Self-calibration of sensors, network connectivity and in-field availability of data are major aspects of our system development philosophy. This philosophy is supported by embedded operating systems and wireless networks.
Model Inputs and Reproducible Research
Core Research Personnel (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)
- Dr. John W. Pomeroy, Director SWSL
- Dr. Nicholas J. Kinar, Assistant Director SWSL / Researcher / Circuits and Electronic Systems
- Dr. Alain Pietroniro, Environmental Remote Sensing
- Dr. Dong Zhao, Remote Sensing Analyst / Researcher / UAV Remote Sensing
- Dr. Phil Harder, Postdoctoral Researcher / UAV Remote Sensing
- Alistair Wallace, SWSL Manager / UAV Remote Sensing / LIDAR Specialist
Field Support Staff (Canmore, Alberta)
- Robin Heavens
- Lindsey Langs
- Greg Galloway
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