Skydowser, drone based drinkwater exploration


Clean drinking water is one of the things that is necessary for life but not everywhere commonly available. Skydowser offers a cheap and fast way to explore subsurface water resources by the use of electromagnetic fields. It is a drone with coils inside the wings to induce the electromagnetic field. The subsurface responds to this induced electromagnetic signal with a varying magnetic field, inducing current in the receiver coil. These electromagnetic signals give, after calculation, a value for the apparent conductivity of the subsurface. If this is done for different frequencies at the same time a depth profile can be calculated using inversion of the data. The SkyDowser will fly over the area, scanning the earths subsurface, the gathered data is used to make a 3D model of the subsurface. In this 3D model the water table will be visible and also an estimation could be made with respect to the salinity of the water.

The existing measurement system and read-out electronics need improvement in sensitivity and performance. The goal of this MSc project will be to improve the complete system. In fact two assignments are possible, each with a different focus point:

  • Improvement of the analog electromagnetic sensor and sensing method to minimize leak-currents, noise level and electromagnetic interference.
  • Improvement of the microprocessor based system used for measurement control and data processing.

Final goal of the project is to create a state of the art system. Which can change its measurement frequency, to change the measurement depth, and has advanced computational algorithms, to increase the signal to noise ratio, which will yield more detailed maps of underground water reservoirs.

skydowser fig4



Andre Bossche