I look for what needs to be done. After all, that’s how the universe designs itself.
– Buckminster Fuller

There has not been a better time to create your own tools to improve efficiencies in the environmental arena. Does it really make sense to drive hours to 1 site to take landfill gas methane readings or groundwater methane readings for a couple of hours on a monthly basis when a remote sensor can do this for you? And provide the data on a real-time basis instead of once a month? Can this RSL methane sensor be modified for other applications? Does it make sense to take pictures of a construction job, doodle on your notebook, and then use Microsoft Word to create a photo log report when companies like FotoIn already have commercially available software (aka “app”) that you can use to develop reports right away?

With the advent of cheap and easy-to-program microcontrollers like Arduino and the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, it is time to use our creativity, tap into IoT technologies (“Internet of Things”), like cloud services, networks, computers, sensors, and more and create our own unique tools. We don’t need to wait for big companies to have their R&D labs develop these for us. There are even open-source manuals and reports that the maker community has been publishing to help advance the tools that we need to make our work more effective.O’Reilly and Maker Press published the “Environmental Monitoring with Arduino” Manual to teach you about setting up sensors to measure temperature, oxygen, humidity, radiation, noise, light, electromagnetic fields, water conductivity, location, and even how to connect the devices to the internet to obtain the data remotely!

Research papers are even pushing for these types of marriages between technologists and environmental professionals, a few examples: Open source data logger for low-cost environmental monitoring, Baker, 2014; Open Source Building Science Sensors (OSBSS): A low-cost Aruidno-based platform for long-term indoor environmental data collection, Ali et al, 2016; and Wireless sensor network system design using Raspberry and Arduino for Environmental Monitoring Applications, Ferdoush and Li, 2014.

Because of this is that 2 of my colleagues and I are organizing the first Environmental Tech Summit (April 11, Raleigh, NC) to inspire the next generation of techno-environmental professionals by exploring commercially available technologies and hear from our keynote Nicholas Albergo (GHD Services, founder and CEO of HSA Engineers & Scientists), ESC Lab Sciences, Duke University, Rutgers University, SampleServe.com, CartoDB, Promium,Wyrick Robbins, Environmental Standards, Southern Environmental Law Center, LogitEasy, /ndustrial.io>, VanEssen Instruments, Dataforensics, cStat, NC Department of Environmental Quality, Hanby Environmental and Hanby PetroAnalysis, DataCrunch Lab, Betabox, Smashing Boxes, and Canvas. Hope you join us in designing our future!

We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.
– Buckminster Fuller