Wireless water level monitoring systems in many surface and underground mines make use of two fundamental modern technologies: Telemetry and the Internet of Things (sometimes also called the Web of Things).
Telemetry refers to the automatic collection of information (in this case, measurement data) from devices, often in remote locations, and transmitting it to a central point where it can be analyzed and used for monitoring and other purposes.
The term “telemetry” derives from a combination of the Greek words “tele” (remote) and “metron” (measure) – so in its simplest form, it means to measure remotely. Telemetry is the foundation on which wireless water level monitoring systems are built.
Vibrating-wire piezometers located in various, sometimes inaccessible, parts of a surface or underground mine are continually measuring the pore pressure of surface or groundwater. However, this information is of no practical use unless it can be collected at regular intervals and moved to a central point where mine engineering staff can assess it and act on the results if necessary.
Connecting vibrating-wire piezometers (up to 4 at a time) to wireless nodes, like the reliable, easy-to-install, and low-maintenance MDT VW-RTU, allows data to be collected from various points of the mine and sent instantly via a wireless telemetry system directly into the mine’s existing Ethernet network. This makes it easy for engineering staff to access and use the data.
The Internet of Things refers to electronic devices added to more traditional items (in this case, piezometers) to allow them to send data to (and in some cases also receive data from) other devices. A practical application in the case of a wireless water level monitoring system would be adding a web interface to the system.
This allows engineers to access the data wherever they are via PC, cellphone, or tablet. In this way, every piezometer in the mine can be monitored from a multitude of internet-connected devices, whether in the mine office or on the other side of the world.