Student Research

Arduino Based Oceanographic Instruments: An Implementation Strategy for Low-Cost Sensors

Oceanographic instruments are expensive, yet essential tools for conducting research on critical environmental processes. Modern trends in technological advancement and inexpensive electronics would suggest that oceanographic instruments should be becoming cheaper; however, low-cost instruments are not yet a reality. This paper describes an implementation strategy and justification for a new form of low-cost instruments using Arduino-based microcontrollers. It describes present-day instruments and methods, the need for low-cost sensors, and barriers which have thus far prevented low-cost instruments from being realized. It also details the unique advantages of the Arduino platform which make it an ideal candidate for reducing costs and suggests how to capitalize on its open source design and flexibility. Particular attention is paid to providing a holistic approach towards reducing life-cycle costs at all stages of planning, development, and operation. This strategy may be used as a baseline and unifying vision for any oceanographic research institution(s) wishing to develop low-cost instruments and reap the benefits of expanding research opportunities.

A Capstone Project submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the California State University – Maritime Academy in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science in Transportation and Engineering Management with a specialization in Transportation