The small, unincorporated community of Austin Colorado in Delta County, located at 5043 ft (1537 m) above sea level, lies in Colorado’s central-western slope’s high deserts. Its unforgiving climate and proximity to our Grand Junction office make it an ideal site for our extreme weather test facility.
The weather data stream is available to a local solar farm operator, monitoring UV levels and cloud coverage. The devices’ smoke sensors would detect any nearby fire. Complementary visuals could serve as a remote area wildfire early warning and detection system for local fire departments and civil protection agencies.
As a clear sign of winter approaching, we have recently measured the coldest temperature since installing the devices a few months ago. On October 27th, the lowest measured value was -16.7°C or 1.94°F. We are happy to see the devices operating reliably under quite challenging climatic conditions.
Equally interesting have been the readings from the gas sensors: Around October 26/27/28 as well as November 14/15, the system automatically sent out alerts as thresholds of the gas sensors were being exceeded:
In the first case, the smoke and fire detection was activated, and from double-checking with the CO2 sensor readings we were able to determine the cause of the emissions to be planned and prescribed burns of a field about one mile from the sensor location. The second reading from November 14/15 stems from elevated methane levels that the sensors picked up. In this case the devices’ cameras uncovered the origin of the gas: a herd of cattle grazing nearby.
These two examples perfectly illustrate the system’s capabilities in terms of broader safety applications additionally to the structural health monitoring of the poles. Operating even in extreme temperatures, they reliably detected smoke, which in other cases could have been a wildfire, and emergency services would have been warned. In the second case, by picking up methane from a nearby herd of cattle, it demonstrates how the system, installed near gas pipelines or infrastructure could effectively monitor the areas’ safety, and detect any gas leaks.