(Last edited on Oct. 9, 2015)
Figure 1. LEWAS Intro Video (December 2014).
Development of the Learning Enhanced Watershed Assessment System (LEWAS) Lab began in 2008 as a research extension of LabVIEW-based learning modules implemented into a freshman engineering course at Virginia Tech. The LEWAS data flow currently consists of four primary stages (Figure 2). The local watershed is monitored by multiple instruments including a weather transmitter and a rain gage to monitor weather conditions, an ultrasonic transducer and a flow meter to monitor flow rate, a sonde to monitor water quality and a camera to provide visual reference to the monitored parameters (Figure 3). The rain gage and ultrasonic transducer were upgrades that added alternate measurement techniques for use in data verification. The local processor is a Raspberry Pi integrates data from the instruments and sends it to a common database on a server via an application programming interface (API) that defines its communication standards. The OWLS is an open-ended guided learning environment that interactively delivers LEWAS data and imagery to end users.
Figure 2. LEWAS data measurement, processing, storage and application.
Figure 3. The LEWAS Field Site.
The development of the LEWAS lab and its applications into teaching and research activities have been supported partially by a number of grants from the National Science Foundation under various programs such as the Department-Level Reform (DLR), NSF/REU Site, and TUES Type I. In addition, College of Engineering, Department of Engineering Education, and Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) at Virginia Tech have provided partial funding support for the LEWAS activities.