Hand-Made Stream Sensor Networks: Build your own Smart Rock Sensor at Home - August 31 - September 3, 2020

Location: Virtual Training

Dr. Julia Jones / Oregon State University, Professor - Geography, Environmental Sciences, and Marine Resource Management
Alicia Veach / OPEnS Lab
Chet Udell / OPEnS Lab
Martin Escoto / OPEnS Lab
Majdi Najim / UC Davis


Some of the key barriers to entry for starting your own stream sensor network are the cost, learning curve, and uncertainty that the devices you make will produce accurate and reliable data. This class will provide participants with hands-on activities by instructors from the OPEnS Lab  (Openly Published Environmental Sensing Lab) at Oregon State University to empower researchers with little to no technical background in starting their very own stream sensor networks. 

Each participant will be supplied with a Smart Rock Kit that they assemble and learn how to use. The Smart Rock is a low-cost submersible sensor suite that monitors and logs water depth, temperature, turbidity, pH, and salinity (EC) that is designed to be built by anyone with or without extensive experience in electronics 

In addition to the sensor componenets, all the materials needed to build your own Smart Rock Stream Sensor will be shipped to you prior to the workshop. Virtual lectures and tutorials will walk participants through how to build and calibrate a high quality, and functioning stream sensor. Sensor cost is included in registration, and participants will get to keep the sensor that they build. 

This workshop will provide participants with background on off-the-shelf components that can serve as effective alternatives to expensive industry-standard water sensors, and benefit from the experience of the OPEnS Lab in building, calibrating, and fact-checking hand-made data loggers. 

For more information on these sensors and the OPEnS Lab, see their website, and GitHub pages. 

The cost of the sensors and materials provided to build them is included in the workshop registration cost. 


  • Laptop computer with MAC OS X or Windows 
  • Stable internet connection and webcam capability for virtual lectures and instruction 
  • Work surface with an accessible outlet for soldering
  • All participants must be located in the US, and provide a mailing address where they can receive packages

Learning Objectives: 

  • Learn how to assemble an open-source hydrological sensor and logging platforms for hydrologic and water quality data collection. 
  • Gain skills for editing code to configure sensors, actuators, and wireless communication systems using the OPEnS Smart Rock and Loom sensor kit platforms. 
  • Learn industry-standard as well as how to make your own customized sensors. 
  • Learn techniques for building waterproof housings for electronics and deployment in aquatic environments. 
  • Learn how to troubleshoot sensor deployments and solve common problems. 
  • Practice calibrating and validating sensor data. 
  • Introduction using web-based data management and logging tools, including www.hydroshare.org. 


Registration for this workshop has passed.