, , , , , ,

Data is the key for environmental investigation and monitoring. However it is very hard for ordinary citizens to get access to. Let water quality be example, which is associated closely with our daily life. When serious environmental disasters break out, with limited information disclosure from government, general public can hardly know the truth in time. The motivates us to organise this workshop that enables you to make DIY monitoring devices with open technology.

News about lead pollution in Hong Kong (Source: TOPick)

Water testing and monitoring is not limited to experts. With basic knowledge about water, everyone can use chemical test kits or cheap electronic components available from Taobao to collect water quality data. Extended and personalized features can be implemented by modifying codes contributed by open hardware community.

Arduino can further connect with wifi/ LTE communication modules to create an IoT network. Real-time measuring water quality data can be streamed from the probing device to a central repository. The time series data is a valuable mine site for data scientists and environment researchers, as well as a full picture of environment evolutions made available to normal citizens.

DIY real-time water quality monitoring device by local residents in Amazon (Source)

In this beginner workshop, we start small and build a prototype water quality meter with Arduino. No prior experience in programming or hardware is required. You will get an idea of how civic researchers gather environmental data and may be able to apply similar technology when conducting environmental investigations, especially related with water quality.

Workshop details

The workshop includes:

  • Understand key water quality parameters;
  • Identify and classify water with simple test kits;
  • Learn Arduino basic, DIY automatic water monitoring device to get continuous water data;
  • Design and make your own devices.

Event information:

  • Date: Jan 18 (Thursday), 2018
  • Time: 3:30pm – 6:30pm
  • Venue: Digital Innovation Lab, ACC204, Jockey Club Academic Community Centre, Baptist University Road Campus, HKBU
  • Quota: 15 students from HKBU
  • Registration form: https://goo.gl/forms/Lcy2jvnSvoR042rn2 (Needs to login Google using your HKBU email)


  • A laptop pre-installed with Arduino IDE https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
  • (optional) A bottle of water (any kinds of water from tap, river, lake, sewage, brought from shop, etc)
  • No prior programming experience is required.

Join this workshop if you are:

  • Concerned about environmental issues;
  • Enthusiastic about open data, open science and open hardware;
  • Keen on hands-on activities.

About the instructor

Shan He will be the instructor of the workshop, she is the project director of a mainland NGO Greenovation Hub, Organizer of the open science and technology community “Public Lab”, and co-founder of the open science project “KnowFlow”. Based in Guangzhou and travelling around the world, Shan and her team had conducted multiple workshops in Hong Kong to promote citizen science, including on MaD 2016 and on Citizen Science Fair 2017.

Greenovation Hub – Water shortage and pollution is a critical problem in many Chinese villages. Greenovation Hub offers tools and channels to promote cross-silo collaboration. They have investigated on water quality in more than 300 villages and schools, helped improve water safety in 66 places. They also have made water testing packs to enable citizens to gather and upload data for water quality map, as well as low-cost DIY drinking water kits for villagers to tackle this vital issue.

Public Lab – The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab) is a community which develops and applies open-source tools to environmental exploration and investigation. By democratizing inexpensive and accessible Do-It-Yourself techniques, Public Lab creates a collaborative network of practitioners who actively re-imagine the human relationship with the environment.


Supporting organisation

The Data & News Society (D&N) is a multi-disciplinary society involving students, scholars and professionals from diverse academic backgrounds, including journalism, computer science, statistics, visual communication, and more. The D&N serves as a colloquium for media professionals, instructors, and students who are interested in the collaboration of data and news.