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Fathomland: A New Dawn

Figure 1: Good things happen if you stare at the fire long enough. (Fenella Jacquet Design)

You’ve been travelling for days.  After escaping from the perils of King Nick’s Poetrysseum and following the softer moss north, you found yourself in the rarefied air of Grustland and the Great City of Oz.  In a fit of insp/despiration, you promised to deliver 4 QiQuac M5 Highlander Edition kits to The Tall Queen and Wise Council of SEPA. The hallowed ones conferred, and decreed, “This is satisfactory to us, So Long As It’s Delivered By March 31st!” Mayor Spurway boomed into the microphone.

<Editor’s Note: To skip this quasi-true narrative, click here>

“We promise, it shall be done.” you found yourself saying.

Satisfied with your promise, the Ozian guards threw you from the city. You and your highway companions headed west to ponder how to deliver on everything you promised.

Fractures within your group soon turn to rifts. “How can we deliver the salt portal without internet? It’s not possible!” said Andre.

“I know, we have a dongle, and it runs Linux and serves it through the USB port!” you suggest, desperately. We can call it the Boon-Dongle.

“That’s so dumb, I’m not going to dignify it with a response” replied Andre.

Figure 2: The edge of the known world?

Dejected, you trudge silently along the path towards the rocks of the Westernmost shore of Fathomland, beyond which is the unknown.

Soon, you run into a merry band of travellers, the EcoFish crew, Adam Z, Krystal, Shannon, and Harlan. “Harlan of Harland!” you exclaim, “He who rules the City State of Harlando?!”

“Oh, yah, that, well, yah thats a long story. I’ll tell you another time, kinda boring. I accidentally layed seige to the city while on a fishing trip and, long story short..”

Krystal, who clearly had heard the story too many times, started singing an old Karstland folksong into the fire, while Shannon brought round hot tea in tin mugs. “Its thistle tea, good for the liver and skin health” she explained.  The folksong told of how an entire river can disappear underground in Karstland, and re-emerge further downstream. “Like a forgotten lover, or one never met.”  The song ended.

Suddenly, an apparition appears from the sparks!  “Behold!” you remarked.  It is a Fathom Sounding Weight formed by the confluence and mingling of sparks!  But what magic is this?  Although possible, it seems highly unlikely the sparks could have randomly formed your guiding vision, like a lighthouse on the darkened ocean, keeping you from the rocks!  You look at your companions, they look at you. (beat).  Finally, Krystal says “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” (beat).

“Of Course!” you exclaim, “We’ll distil the spirit of the QiQuac into a mobile device!”

“Yes, that is what I was implying,” replied Krystal.

“So you’re saying we could serve the Salt Portal locally?  And maybe call it the Field Portal?” Andre asked.

“Yes, that is what I’m saying,” you gamble.

“That could work.”

So Andre set to work to recreate the vision we saw in the fire.  Then Krystal sang another song into the fire.  This one was forlorn, about lost love and another land.  “The Upstream Land,” she sang “Is never as far as you think. Follow the clouds around the bend, and make sure you have plenty to drink.”  You were not clear if she meant hydrate, or drink more mead, but by the end of the night, while you all stared at the embers in the fire with a warm belly laugh rolling around, you were pretty convinced you could do both.

In the morning light, with dry mouth and a tongue that felt like a foreign body (and not a good one), you woke to see Harlan walking up the bank with three fresh trout.  “Morning sleepy head!” he greeted you.  The smell of trout cooking on the same campfire where your vision had risen, and the the hot organic “bullet proof” coffee that Shannon brought you, told you that every little thing was going to be alright.  So you and Andre set to work on the Field Portal, Paul worked on the 3rd Upstream Sensor to monitor changing BGECT, while Joelle charmed a python to generate the transit time/delta ECT code to implement in both the Field Portal and Salt Portal.  Sadly, the EcoFish crew had to move on.  “20% increase in revenue, every year, sorry we can’t stay.”  Shannon told you.  Damn, it’s nice to have company, you thought.

But you set to work, and sure enough, through sweat and toil, come the Ides of March your stalwart band had handcrafted 4 QiQuac Highlander Edition kits, complete with Field Portal for non-connected post-processing AND SDIQ grading and grouping AND export to Kisters Wiski AND incorporation of a 3rd U/S sensor for BGECT compensation.  The only problem: the Pestilence had spread north, even to fair Grustland, cutting off the route back to Oz.  If you do not meet the March 31 deadline, death will come swiftly to your merry band, you feel certain.  So you summon Hermes,  herald of the gods, as well as the protector of human heralds, travelers, thieves, merchants, and orators.  You pay a dear price (a tale for another time), but just as he promised, he arrived in Oz before the pestilence shuttered the city and delivered the QiQuac M5: Highland Edition.

 

Field Portal

Figure 3. Grading Tool. This image is missing the channel 2 trace, coming soon.

The field portal is a standalone version of the Salt Portal.  It runs in python and serves two tools to your local browser:

  1. the Discharge Calculator allows you to:
    • review of the recently acquired salt dilution data from the QQ.
    • post-process both the CFT and Discharge.
    • Store Q and CFT locally.
    • Compensate with a 3rd Upstream Probe or linear sloping BGECT.
  2. the Grading Tool allows you to:
    • Group measurements from the same injection, including 3rd U/S signal
    • Grade measurements based on user defined criteria
    • Export measurements to Kisters Wiski (Aquarius Time-Series coming soon).
    • View 3 channels simultaneously.

Instructions on their use are here.

Figure 4. New Zealand Whio or Blue Duck, will work on any Android Device with Bluetooth.

QiQuac: Whio? Feeoh?

Pronounced Fee-Oh, the New Zealand Whio is an endangered New Zealand freshwater duck.  These guys live in fast flowing rivers, are blue, and are on the edge of extinction due to predation by introduced species like Stoats and Rats. I say “guys” because the population, numbering less than 3000, is estimated to be 70% male due to predation of females and eggs.  🙁  “Its Māori name, pronounced “fee-oo” (oo as in book) and commonly used in New Zealand English, is an onomatopoeic rendition of the males’ call.” Wikipedia 2020.

So I found this duck when I searched for blue duck, you know, bluetooth, QiQuac, and thought “Geez these guys need some help more than I need another Tesla, so then I thought “Hey!” I thought, “why don’t we donate $100 to conservation efforts for every QiQuac sold (at full price! no haggling! If you haggle, the ducks get nothing!) until we reach $3000.  Then we go from there.  That’s a buck a duck.  What do you say?  Are you down?  If this works out, I’d like to continue to do the same for other endangered avian.  I would challenge other companies to do the same, pick a species, send cash. We could have a contest,  like a flow regatta, see which agency (WSC vs Fathom) can save more species. Bring it Dave!

Figure 5: A Few wireframes from the QQ:FeeOh App

So QQ:FeeOh (if Andre has his say, I like words that are unpronounceable and ideas that are unfathomable) is an Android App that is  a hybrid of the QQ and Salt Portal.  It can process measurements in realtime, receiving data from a QQ (set to BlueTooth mode) and allowing realtime processing and adjustment using the phone or tablet’s interface.  Likewise, historical measurements will be available on the phone, and if I have my way, the site rating curve and all CFTs to compare to the current.  It will allow the user to push local measurements to the Salt Portal when back in civilization (with its pros (Movies, Coffee, Electricity, Amsterdam) and cons (Pestilence, Microplastics in the Ocean, Modern Jazz)). Figure 5 shows a few “wire frames” from the app.

QQ:FeeOh will be an integral part of the new WIT-HM Pro and Pro+ package.  “What is the WIT-HM Pro and Pro+?” you ask?  Read on!

WIT-HM: Pro and Pro+ Pioneer Program

Figure 6: Pa plays the fiddle while Mr. Edwards dances in the moonlight. Will you dance?

At some point,  you must ask yourself, “Am I a Pioneer, or a Follower? ” This section is for Pioneers that play the fiddle, build log houses on the prairies with a mess of kids, and dance in the moonlight.  If you’re a follower, then you can skip ahead.

WIT-HM is the Watershed Information Tool-Hydrometric Module. The WIT is a tool developed by Fathom Scientific to support geospatial queries of watersheds, including drainage area, mean annual discharge, monthly discharge, total upstream water allocations.

The HM extension is primarily supporting Salt Dilution measurements and subsequent Rating Curve development. You may know it as the Salt Portal.  There is currently no time-series management in the Salt Portal, besides storing a date-time for each measurement record.  But that’s about to change..

The proposed feature enhancement under the Pioneer Program would require support from the larger Fathom Scientific customer base, ie Pioneers, to support its development. A number of features are being considered as part of the Pro license, including:

  1. Upload user timeseries data: this would be a water level record preformatted into columns Date-time(yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss), Stage (m). The tool would enforce a simplified input format.
  2. Manage Stage Recorder offset relative to a fixed physical benchmark or staff gauge (FIXED I said).
  3. Manage Rating Curves for specific time periods and apply to appropriate stage data.
  4. Perform CFT analysis to set alarms on Serial Numbers for malfunction or calibration, generate average Station CFT and parameter dependence, look for trends in sites, users, equipment, or time.
  5. Flag Water Quality Guideline (WQG) exceedance based on user defined inputs.
  6. Offer File Management like photos and SOPs for each station, site visit, or organization.
  7. Handle Task cards, like “Survey BMs”,  “Move Barologger to shade”, or “Assure Steven 1.0 he is not redundant” to the site program.
  8. Grade resulting Rating Curve and Hydrometric Record, A, B, C, or N, and offer advice on how to achieve a target Grade.
  9. Generate Hydrometric Reports based on site data and grade.
  10. Export data at any time to CSV or Kisters or Aquarius Time Series.  No data will be held hostage.

The Pro+ (need a better name) will focus more on the hydrology side of things:

Figure 7: Red points are the client CFT point and Grey are all CFT points within the Salt Portal

  1. Generate Long-term Synthetic hydrology series based on Monthly Multiple Regression (MMR) analysis against long-term regional stations.
  2. Compare synthetic series to new short term records to determine outliers and RC shifts.
  3. Generate monthly, annual, and extreme value statistics for ungauged basins in select regions using transparent and defensible algorithms.
  4. Generate GIS based shp files for Upstream Drainage Areas (UDAs) for select regions.
  5. Up to 10 hours of professional consulting review for your project
  6. 8 litres of 5.00 g/l salt standard per kit
  7. Hardware upgrades including shipping.

“Sounds like Pie in the Sky!” you call.  “There goes Gabe, head in the clouds again,” you mock.  “What you propose is preposterous! A relaunchable rocket? Hah!” you scorn.  “See if he’s got any money in is pockets. Crap, a teacher, come on let’s go!”  Well… yah?! Well, yah, maybe you’re right…

See if he’s got any money in his pockets. Crap, a teacher, come on let’s go!

Figure 8: Early test of the Rating Curve-Hydrograph interface allowing the user to select a point and see where it falls on the hydrograph, and vice versa,

But we’re going to give it a shot!  And we need your help!  The “Pioneer” License being offered is a special case of the standard license. It is for a duration of 3 years, and will include all functionality added to the service for an unlimited number of sites and measurements, but functionality will be added incrementally based on the number of subscribers (resources available). The purpose of the license is to get several customers to put down a ($$) commitment on the service, as well as get feedback from those customer on the service to improve it and meet their needs.

The broad categories of improvement are:

Figure 9: A Low Dosing injection with CH2 BG ECT tracking. After applying a Transit Time shift to the U/S CH2 signal, we arrive at a Q of 1.23cms, compared to 1.59cms if using a linear interpolation for the BGECT.

1. SDIQ and CFT measurement management
2. Security and Permissions
3. Rating Curve Development
4. Time Series Analysis
5. Environmental Compliance Monitoring
6. Analysis, Alarms, Thresholds, Trends, Metrics
7. Professional Oversight and Reporting
8. Hydrological Analysis
9. GIS Analysis and Water Allocation
10. QiQuac Service Package

The features within in each category are outlined here. The reader is encouraged to put a checkmark by the features most important to them. We do not yet have a timeline for implementation and it will depend on the number of customers that sign up.  So far, Pioneers are:

  1. Urban Systems (Aaron Coelho and Shayn Kuchma)
  2. BluEarth Renewables (Derek Brzoza)
  3. Barkerville Gold Mines (Jack Love)
  4. Elemental Energy (Ryan Hanson)

These guys are real heros, in my opinion.  Trying to get this up to 10.  Let me know if YOU have the Pioneer spirit, or, you know, if not, it’s ok to just follow behind too, nothing wrong with that, (but it’s better to be a Pioneer, that’s all).

QiQuac and AQAc Upgrades

..are documented here.  Highlights are:

  • Automatic determination of Pulse Start and End resulting in more Grade A measurements
  • Integration of 3rd U/S Probe for the QiQuac Highlander Edition.
  • Rating Curve Vector sampling and LoRa comms in the AutoSalt-AQAcM5
  • Cellular 2-way Telemetry via Teltonika RUT955 or TRB142 (Linux Routers).

We had the pleasure of installing the new cellular telemetry unit at Harvey Creek in Lion’s Bay with the irreplaceable Steven Weijs 1.0.  Well, the reason I’ve started calling him Steven 1.0 is because we did replace him… with a stick… Figure 10 shows Steven battling with the existential angst of being replaced by a superior product.

Figure 10: (Left) Steven quite pleased with the AutoSalt system and our improvised antenna mast, which meant Steven, who’s quite tall, didn’t need to stand there holding the antenna (Center) Realizing he’s just been replaced by a device of his own creation. (Right) Cursing his manufactured analog, Steven 2.0. While Steven and I have had some stimulating conversations about the Simulation and Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Steven 2.0 is a really great listener, is quite a bit taller, and can stand in the rain for days on end without complaint. So they each have pros and cons and the Jury is out.

 

Figure 11. Harvey Creek Rating Curve with 4 points selected for investigation.

The verdict is in on the AutoSalt system installed at Harvey Creek: it’s Rad! 132 measurements, shown in Figure 11 in the new Salt Portal Rating Curve Component Editor.  This rad new tool allows you to interactively select points to turn off or on when fitting a Least Squares Hydraulically Valid RC Component for stage ranges.  Step through SDIQs temporally to see when shifts occurred and export csv to Aquarius Time Series.  The RCC Tool will be expanded, enhanced, bolstered, and augmented as part of the forthcoming WIT-HM Pro Service.

CoVid Culvert Corner with the Rural Hydrographer

Figure 12: Laura Gilbert, Ph.D. Candidate in Karaoke Studies, McGill University.

During the most recent Pandemic, we had some time for some purposeful tomfoolery and chim chicanary.“We” made this video at the behest of Laura Gilbert, a Ph.D. candidate in the Economics for the Anthropocene Project at McGill University.  “The Anthropocene,” I said, “Is that the period in Geological Time in which human’s can control the climate and environment?”

“Yes,” replied Laura.

“And that’s good?” I asked.

“No, it’s bad,” she replied.

“Oh.” I responded.

But I would argue that it could be good, if we are responsible stewards.  THAT’s why we sell QiQuacs, afterall, that use 10% of the salt used by our competitors (who all drive Hummers, I swear).  Laura now works for Water Rangers, who’s mission is to get Water Quality test kits into the hands of citizen scientists and conservation groups in order to A) better understand water quality in a far-reaching hive-mind approach and B) reconnect those pesky Anthropeds to the nature they so often take for granted, exploit, or try to sell to other Anthropeds.  Time in nature can

  1. Reduce stress and symptoms of attention deficit disorders,
  2. Boost immunity, energy levels and creativity
  3. Increase curiosity and problem-solving ability,
  4. Improve physical fitness and co-ordination, and
  5. Reduce the likelihood of needing glasses for nearsightedness,

according to the David Suzuki Foundation..  So let’s fight Climate Change, CoVid 19, and Nature Deficiency Disorder simultaneously. Grab a bucket and your “friend”, sign up for Water Rangers, and start collecting Water Data Today!

September Visit?

I’m hoping to come and see you and help with your endeavours in September, if travel opens up again.  Let me know what I should bring.  I think we’ll have a great time!

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