Open Hydrological Sensor Technologies: DIY Stream Sensor Networks

September 20 - 22, 2021

Location: Virtual Workshop


Chett Udell
Oregon State University OPEnS Lab
Colin Hale-Brown
Oregon State University OPEnS Lab
Brenda Fasse
Oregon State University OPEnS Lab
Cara Walter
Oregon State University OPEnS Lab


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, Open Source, 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 components, all the materials needed to build your own Smart Rock Stream Sensor will be shipped to you prior to the workshop. Realtime remote 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.


  • Learn how to assemble open-source hydrological sensor and logging platforms for hydrologic and water quality data collection.
  • Gain skills for configuring sensors using the OPEnS Smart Rock and Loom sensor kit platforms.
  • Learn techniques for building waterproof housings for electronics and deployment in aquatic environments.
  • To learn how to troubleshoot sensor deployments and solve common problems.
  • Practice calibrating and validating sensor data
  • Practice using web-based data management and logging tools, including


  • Curiosity and enthusiasm
  • Laptop computer and webcam for Zoom video conferencing. Mac OS X or Windows
  • See Required Materials from Home section.
  • Materials provided:
  • Smart Rock kit includes sensors, enclosure, and components for assembly, calibration, and data reading

Required Materials from Home:

  • Workspace for working with wet things
  • Computer with USB port
  • USB port or USB wall charger for battery charging
  • 5 gallon bucket or bathtub that can be filled with water overnight
  • Table salt
  • Ice
  • Coffee grounds or powdered creamer
  • Paper towels or rag to wipe probes