Microcontroller-Based Remote Weather Monitoring Station With Flood Monitoring System
This is my final year thesis project in the degree of Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering entitled “MICROCONTROLLER-BASED REMOTE WEATHER MONITORING STATION W/ FLOOD MONITORING SYSTEM” and awarded as Best Thesis of the Year seven (7) years ago.
Weather monitoring plays a critical role in hazard mitigation in the country as the equipment can help save lives and properties particularly during typhoons and floods. Hence, Surigao City has only one PAGASA station and this may be susceptible to errors in which it relatively affects the reliability of weather report. They forecast a wide range of area only and do not have flood monitoring, thus, this greatly affects to the monitoring of floods in a particular barangay. The whole purpose of this study is to design, develop, and implement a MCU-Based Weather Monitoring Station with Flood Monitoring System; a system which provides two main stations, the server station installed in city hall of Surigao City and the remote station in Brgy. Washington. The system is composed of sensors such as temperature, humidity, dew point, atmospheric pressure, wind speed and direction, rainfall, ambient light, and flood level for monitoring. PIC16F887 microcontroller will act as the main controller of the system. The system sends the gathered data by the sensors to be passed through and visualize to the server station, a Personal Computer (PC). Separate tests conducted by the group and by PAGASA resulted to a better accuracy and lesser errors. Although the main purposes of the device were achieved, improvements are still necessary.
Climate and weather are vitally important in human’s field of activities such as agriculture, aviation, transportation, leisure time, and any other aspects related to weather conditions. The advantages of having this weather monitoring system are that the exact outside temperature, humidity level, pressure, dew, available light, wind speed and direction are given without having to rely on internet or television weather broadcasts that only give readings for the general vicinity around the nearest large city or transportation hub. It has also a flood level monitoring that locates the affected barangays caused by floods. This system will be designed to take readings over a specified period of time particularly a delay time interval and then transmit the average value of those readings for each sensor to the microprocessor, located in each barangay of Surigao City and display the results to Personal Computer (PC). This information is very convenient and useful for picking out clothing, deciding hair styles, and allowing for traffic delays, avoiding environmental catastrophes, all from a simple display that can be mounted in the central location of the home from their personal computer for everyone to see.
This paper presents an alternative system of monitoring weather condition from different locations with the use of wireless technology. The system works with a series of sensors, connected to a microcontroller. The microcontroller, interfaced with a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) Module, sends data from the sensors to a server station. The server station is mainly composed of a GSM Module interfaced to desktop or laptop computer. Software collects data coming from different weather condition sensing modules and presents them in a user interface map. Data is also saved for future analysis or for possible weather forecast. Results showed that the system is reliable, practical, robust, and has long term sustainability. This paper will also show the possibilities that this system could provide not only on the specified scope, but also on wireless sensor networks in general.
Weather is a temporal state of surface atmosphere which affects a wide range of man’s activities including agriculture, transportation and leisure time. Often, the affects involve the movement of gases and particulates through the atmosphere. Microclimate information of small scale patterns of climate resulting from the influence of topography, urban forms, bodies of water and vegetation is important in determining the factors that influence ecological processes which reflect subtle changes on the ecosystem. Weather station monitoring plays a critical role in hazard mitigation in the country as the equipment can help save lives and properties particularly during typhoons and floods. Agencies or Organizations responsible for implementation and management of Weather Monitoring System are the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM), National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and Local Government Unit (LGU).
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) have many sophisticated devices that are very expensive yet provide climate information for a wide-range area only. Satellite images, which provide most weather information, cannot provide microclimate information due to its high spatial resolution, typically from 1 kilometer to 20 kilometers. There are only less than 50 weather stations deployed in the Philippines. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) had set up unmanned weather stations in Northern Samar and Southern Leyte last June 2011 with a cost of P200, 000 each unit. Modern weather monitoring systems and networks are designed to make the measurements necessary to track gases movements in cost effective manner. This requires that the total life-cycle cost of a monitoring system is minimized, and one way to do this is to minimize or eliminate the maintenance of weather monitoring system. Using solid-state system to measure the weather, including the wind speed and direction, is paramount to minimize equipment servicing and costs.
The above information has triggered the developers to design, create, and implement a low-cost stand-alone device, the MCU – Based Remote Weather Monitoring Station with Flood Monitoring System which aims to provide weather monitoring capabilities as well as microclimate data and information, eliminate subjective weather forecasting through real-time monitoring of weather disturbances, monitor flood-level that may affect in every Barangays and the Province at large. This device will act as a client that reads temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, rain intensity, and flood level monitoring. The acquired data will automatically be sent via SMS, will be received by the server, and displayed and integrated in Google Map. It can operate continuously on solar power, backed-up by an internal rechargeable battery. For a realtime basis weather monitoring, the device will be installed in Barangay Washington with the server at the City Hall of Surigao City.
Statement the Problem
- How to design, develop, and implement a MCU-Based Remote Weather Monitoring Station with Flood Monitoring System?
- How to design and develop a module that will integrate all the factors in weather monitoring such as temperature, relative humidity, dew point, wind speed and direction, rain intensity, ambient light, atmospheric pressure, and flood level as one of the effects of bad weather condition, and measures and monitors their specific data value?
“How will the device monitors the weather condition these days including the amount of light and the monitoring for flood warnings. How can this device benefit the societies particularly the flooded areas to prepare them against the disastrous effects of flash floods?”
- How to design and develop a module that will store energy coming from the sun?
“How will the device operates to its full autonomy where it can have additional source of power to operate during nighttime and brownouts? How will the device supports to store an electrical energy with itself?”
- How to design a module that will send data gathered by the sensors via SMS?
“How will the device operates to send its gathered data with the use of SMS? Does this sending operation is feasible through the use of SMS?”
- How to design and develop a module that will integrate the acquired data through a Computer Interface Program for data visualization?
“How will the device be integrated to the GUI of the server station? What is the time delay or interval of sending the data gathered by the device?”
- How will the developers design a main controller system?
“How will the sensors be connected and merged and be programmed to have its brain and functions in using the device?”
Current State of Technology
There are two conventional systems in weather monitoring namely: the weather satellites and the Doppler radar.
Weather Satellites offer the advantage of daily global monitoring coverage. It has the ability to show image in visual camera and infrared. It has two types namely: Polar Orbiting and Geostationary. Polar Orbiting Satellites revolves around the earth 14.1 times daily, having much more detailed images and excellent views of the Polar Regions. However, it cannot see the whole earth’s surface at any one time. The path of each orbit changes due to the earth’s rotation so no two images are from the same location. It is limited to about six or seven images a day since most of the time the satellite is below the earth’s horizon and out of range of listening equipment. Geostationary satellites are always located in the same spot of the sky relative to the earth, can view the entire earth at all times, and can receive transmissions from free floating balloons, buoys, and remote automatic data collections around the world. But it is located about 22,000 miles or 35,000 km in space, providing less details view of earth and the views of the polar regions are limited due to earth’s curvature. These two satellites provide general view on monitored location but do not provide sensitive data to specific or remote locations and cost a lot of money to establish and maintain.
Doppler radar uses the reflective properties of objects and gasses in weather to determine frequency, direction and speed. But this radar scanning approaches sometimes catch data that are not to be included due to factors like under refraction, super-refraction, and sensing of false objects like birds. It must be deployed on array due to a limited scope. According to the report of The Philippine Star last July 11, 2008, Japanese Government’s 500-million Doppler radar device was arrived and established in the country with the PAGASA. It was really expensive. Surigao City does not have the availability of the said automatic weather station and it mostly relies on PAGASA’s devices. PAGASA cannot detect the flood level and the ambiance of light because it does not have sensor devices to monitor flood and ambient light; this is according to the meteorological officer of PAGASA.
The developers need to enhance these two conventional systems in weather monitoring by filling the lacking functionality, operation, and design such as it will become cheaper and affordable in the market, provides sensitive data to specific and remote locations in the barangays of Surigao City, can be deployed in a small area or space, has a sensor of flood-level monitoring within the device, can operate continuously using solar power, can be integrated to Computer Interface Program for data visualization and can give warning to the public in real-time basis.
Monitoring weather conditions manually is difficult. Satellite images, which provide most weather information, cannot provide microclimate information. Due to their high spatial resolution, operation and maintenance they are cost effective. The Philippines sit astride the typhoon belt, and the country suffers an annual onslaught of dangerous storms from July through October. An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, based on official statistics in an official graph of frequency of typhoons courtesy of PAGASA. At present, Surigao City has only one PAGASA station. This may be susceptible to errors which relatively affect the reliability of its weather report. They forecast a wide range of area. As a result, the Local Government Unit (LGU) is dependent on the PAGASA Weather Report to provide clear warning activities to specific areas especially to remote areas that are prone to deviant and flash floods.
However, there is not enough number of weather stations in the Philippines. These are some of the problems involved in this study. Taking all these to consideration, the developers designed, developed, and implemented a Remote Weather Monitoring Station (RWMS) which measures and monitors weather conditions such as temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, rain intensity, dew point, and atmospheric pressure to predict the climate of the day. The spatial resolution can be improved by increasing the number of weather stations to provide additional on-site weather data. The developers also made the device simple in design and operation, cheap; and the module, easy to sustain and develop. This device is powered using a solar power system for the full autonomy of its operation. Solar panels harness available incoming solar radiation to charge the battery of the system. A high capacity battery serves as the backup source of power for the system when solar radiation is insufficient.
Disasters in the Philippines include floods and landslide which result to the loss of lives and properties. Flash floods in the country, caused by the excessive amount of rainfall due to typhoons, are the leading disaster that make huge damages of properties and even cause deaths. The Surigao City climate falls under the second type of climate in the Philippines. This type is characterized by rainfall that is distributed throughout the year. This means that it is one of the wettest cities in the Philippines due to prolonged rains. PAGASA cannot determine flash floods in all locations. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Caraga Region revealed that several barangays in the city are considered high-risk areas during floods and landslides. On this, the developers created a module for flood level monitoring which maintains the environmental monitoring network and continuously provides solutions for the mitigation of environment-related disasters. It is a need to install this module to cover and accommodate the needs of the all barangays in Surigao City and to empower the people of the community to protect and prepare themselves, and make them resilient against the disastrous effects of typhoons and the ensuing activities such as floods, landslides, and storm surge.
The developers created a module for sending the gathered data in a 1-minute time interval for the early warnings and changes of the measured parameters. The developers created the module through wireless technology, that is, via SMS. The data then pass through the server station, the city hall. It is equipped with a multimedia card for data logging and a Global System for Mobile (GSM) Module for SMS requests from the end users, as well as for communication to the base station. This greatly eliminates a great deal of maintenance and improves the focus on weather monitoring and reporting. The acquired data are integrated to Visual Basic.Net 2008 Computer Interface Program for data visualization. Then, the responsibility of the community and leaders, the LGU and Quick Action Response Team (QART of Surigao City, is enhanced through their direct and active participation. The ultimate goal of the device is to protect life and property by achieving and maintaining a high-level of community preparedness through timely information and warnings.
- The main objective of this device is to design, develop, and implement a MCU-Based Remote Weather Monitoring Station with Flood Monitoring System which could monitor weather parameters in accepting inputs gathered by the sensors and
wirelessly sends the gathered data to be integrated and visualized through a Personal
Computer (PC) as the server station.
- To design and develop a module that will integrate all weather monitoring sensors, such as temperature, relative humidity, dew point, wind speed and direction, ambient light, atmospheric pressure, rain intensity, and flood level monitoring.
“The developers will create a connection of wirings to integrate all the sensors. It is important to have this module to indicate warnings and to empower the people of the community, to protect, to prepare them, and to make them resilient against the disastrous effects of typhoons and the related activities such as floods, landslides, and storm surge.”
- To design a module that will store energy coming from the sun.
“The developers will use solar panel to operate continuously and it will be backed-up by an internal rechargeable battery. Solar panels harness available incoming solar radiation to charge the battery of the system. A 12-volt car battery is used to serve as the backup source of power for the system when solar radiation is insufficient.”
- To design a module that will send the data gathered by the sensors via
“The developers will use GSM Module and will send to the server station, the city hall of Surigao City. It will be equipped with a GSM Module for SMS requests from the end users, as well as for communication to the server station. This greatly eliminates a great deal of maintenance and improves the focus on weather monitoring and reporting.”
- To design and develop a module that will integrate the acquired data in Computer Interface Program for data visualization.
“The developers will create a Graphical User Interface in the Laptop or Desktop Computer. In order to provide clear warnings and indications of the data that will be forecasted to the people in the City of Surigao in real-time basis, the developers also created a Computer Interface Program. This is why it must have maintenance personnel that are knowledgeable in this device.”
- To incorporate PIC16F887 microcontroller to be the main controller of the system that will be programmed written as the requirements of the system.
“The developers used this PIC microcontroller to incorporate all the sensor modules and all the connections needed in the system.”
Scope and Limitations of the Study
Scope of the Study
- The device is mainly gathering and monitoring of data such as temperature, relative humidity, dew point, wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure, ambient light, rain intensity, and monitors the flood level for weather monitoring analysis.
- The remote station will send data in real-time via SMS.
- The gathered data of the remote station that is sent to the server station will only be visualized in Computer Interface Program using a Personal Computer (PC).
- The system will be operated by solar power, backed-up by an internal rechargeable battery for the full autonomy of the system. This will be able to charge the battery through charge controller connected to the solar panel, battery, and to the load.
- The battery used is capable of storing up to 12V.
- The Computer Interface Program in Visual Basic.NET 2008 has Global System for Mobile (GSM) Form that is when the user of the system wanted to send data wirelessly and Universal Serial Bus (USB) Form to have a wired connection to the system.
- Through the use of Graphical User Interface (GUI) Application from the desktop or laptop computer, the system can change the mobile number of the receiver of the gathered data without reprogramming the microcontroller.
- The device considered that there is a flood when the water level sensor has an output of one, two, or three that can be viewed in the LCD of the device. The device will be installed in Brgy.Washington, Surigao City to have a flood and weather monitoring in the said barangay and the server station will be in the City Hall of Surigao City.
- The device has its own Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) that can view all the weather and flood monitoring data.
- The system has unlimited post-paid load plans to have an unlimited sending of data to the server station
- The system cannot predict calamities such as typhoons, hurricane, landslides, tsunamis, and the like. This is because the gathered weather data are typically the only source of forecasting. Without such inputs, the system cannot function particularly in determining the occurrence, speed and impact of typhoons and other catastrophes.
- The device is network dependent. If this consideration are lacking, then transmitting the acquired data to be passed through the server station will not be possible. The computer interface program that has all the necessary data cannot be viewed in the server station if there is no desktop or laptop computer.
- The system’s solar panel will not follow and locate the exact position of
the sun. Thus, it cannot rotate to find a sufficient amount of sunlight.
Perspective View of the Project
(Designed using Sketchup)
Developmental Image of the Project
LCD Screen Display
Project Circuit Design
Software Development (GUI of the Project)
“In conclusion, the device was accomplished successfully with weather parameter sensors as well as the flood levels. The additional requirements which are data storage for all the measured value and amount, as well as the certification of calibration and accuracy from PAGASA, were achieved.
The objectives enumerated above were fully met. The device has resolved the issues on practicability on the part of the weather forecasting technologies, people who rely mostly on weather report and the weather forecaster who will forecast a reliable weather source in the barangays of Surigao City. With its accurate calibration and wireless transmission of data from the different weather stations, there will be no hindrance of forecasting the monitoring of weather conditions as well as flood monitoring in every barangays. Since Surigao City has only one PAGASA station and may be susceptible to errors which relatively affect the reliability of its weather report because they forecast a wide range of area only, it greatly affects the desired forecasting in every barangays and the Local Government Unit (LGU) and all of its environmental risk reduction departments of Surigao City who is dependent on PAGASA Weather Report cannot provide clear warning activities to specific areas especially to remote areas that are prone to deviant and flash floods. There is not enough number of weather stations in the Philippines; and if this system will be implemented, there is now a better solutions for all disastrous effects of typhoons and any related calamities with regards to weather conditions because of its cost, reliability, robustness, easy to sustain and develop, wireless transmissions, and the autonomy of operations using solar panel. This system can be deployed on small, medium and large scale settings in on any location as long as there is an existing network signal.”
Click the Download Documentation button below to download the documentation of this project.