In an age of connectivity, now even water quality technicians can tap and swipe their Apple devices while taking spot samples in the field.
“We have all grown to expect some of the functionality you get with a smartphone,” said Cristina Windsor, In-Situ technical marketing specialist.
In-Situ’s new smarTROLL water quality sampling system delivers that functionality. It combines a dissolved oxygen sensor or multiparameter sonde with an Apple iPad, iPod or iPhone to create a handheld sampling system.
A special application designed for Apple devices called iSitu allows users to communicate with the sonde and view data. Windsor said In-Situ programmers took cues from Apple when building the application. “What we tried to do was design that usability into an app,” she said.
Users can collect sample data on temperature, conductivity, pH, oxidation-reduction potential, depth and dissolved oxygen. Samples are saved to the corresponding Apple device. Then users can convert data to a CSV file and email it to a personal computer for storage and processing.
Some standard features of Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad can supplement collected data. Users can photograph sample sites and add the photos to sample data to show conditions or the specific location where a tech is sampling.
Any Apple device equipped with GPS can also be used to document coordinates of samples. The iSitu App makes it as easy as hitting a button to log the coordinates during sampling at each site.
Each smarTROLL kit comes with a pack that houses a wireless receiver, batteries, barometric pressure sensor and ambient temperature sensor. The air temperature and pressure sensors enable the smarTROLL to compensate weather variations during water level and dissolved oxygen measurements, giving the most accurate readings possible.
Windsor said wireless connectability is especially convenient for low flow sampling where technicians may need to wait while water bubbles through a flow cell. Users can simply set the instrument in place and retreat to the comfort of a vehicle to watch the data on their Apple device.
A special low-flow sampling app can be downloaded within the iSitu App. It helps the technicians prepare for the field before getting dirty. “You can set up the (sampling) template when you are in your office and then email it to your phone,” Windsor said.
All the sensors attached to the smarTROLL were designed with durability and spot sampling in mind. Temperature, conductivity and pH probes all use titanium components.
In-Situ’s combination pH-oxidation-reduction potential sensor is completely rebuildable and has a refillable core. With proper maintenance, the sensor will continue to perform for several years before needing to be replaced.
Their optical Rugged Dissolved Oxygen Sensor was specifically designed for spot sampling. Windsor said In-Situ engineers gave the sensor fast response and stabilization characteristics to ensure timely sampling. It has a replaceable cap to ensure the sensor gives quality readings in the long term.
The smarTROLL conductivity sensor was built to handle a wide range, from 0 microsiemen per centimeter to 100,000 microsiemen per centimeter. It automatically switches from high range to low range based on the liquid.
Each sensor saves calibrations internally. The smarTROLL automatically identifies calibration solutions as the probes are inserted in buffers.
In-Situ’s smarTROLL kits can be purchased with or without an Apple device. For those who fear dropping their phone or tablet in the water, the company has partnered with LifeProof to provide IP68 cases rated against dust infiltration and water penetration when submerged up to 2 meters.