March 2024 OES Beacon

The Ocean Challenge Event

Nicholas Hall-Patch, Victoria Chapter Secretary-Treasurer

Some of the sponsors’ posters

Over the years, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, has become a center for marine science and technology, with increasing employment opportunities for engineering graduates.

A collaboration involving  the University of Victoria Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringOcean Startup ProjectCOASTCoast Capital Innovation Centre, along with the Victoria Chapter of the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society, resulted in the UVic Ocean Challenge, with the most recent event taking place on 7 December 2023 at the University of Victoria.

The UVic Ocean Challenge is a competition among undergraduate engineering students at the University of Victoria to develop useful prototypes in order to help solve problems within the oceanic world in technology, business, and the environment. The Challenge not only includes the academic resources and technical tools of the University, but also mentoring from the industrial sector to provide latest insights into marine technology.

It involves not just prototype development by the students, but also fosters entrepreneurial skills, and develops networking amongst students, academics, ocean engineering professionals, as well as potential employers in the marine sector.

The Victoria Chapter of the Oceanic Engineering Society has sponsored awards for winners of various categories in the UVic Ocean Challenge, and is pleased to introduce some of the winning projects to the pages of The Beacon.

Project team members

Real-Time Water Quality Monitoring System: University of Victoria Ocean Challenge Project

Project by: Daniel Kiwilsza, Evan Lee, Mohammadreza Movahedian, Simon Pollak, and William Wu

Supervisor: Prof. Hong-Chuan Yang

Authors: Daniel Kiwilsza, Evan Lee, Mohammad Movahedian, William Wu, Simon Pollak

In a world where environmental challenges are escalating, a team of students from the University of Victoria’s Electrical and Computer Engineering departments—comprising Daniel Kiwilsza, Evan Lee, Mohammadreza Movahedian, Simon Pollak, and William Wu—has made waves with a groundbreaking project. The real-time ocean water quality monitoring system won the top spot at the Ocean Challenge 2023 held by the University of Victoria on December 1st, 2023.

Traditionally, assessing water quality involved manual sampling, laborious lab analysis, and frustrating delays in emergencies. The Internet of Things (IoT) facilitated the team’s deployment of sensors, microcontrollers, and wireless modules for real-time monitoring. This innovative leap allowed for swift and efficient water quality data collection, even in remote locations.

Real-Time Water Quality Monitoring System

Design Features

Equipped with four sophisticated sensors dedicated to measuring a spectrum of physical and chemical parameters—temperature, pH, turbidity, and total dissolved solids—our real-time water quality monitoring system ensures a comprehensive understanding of the ocean’s current state. These sensors work seamlessly together to give users a holistic view of water quality in real-time.

The system operates as a digital messenger, transmitting data from these sensors in real-time to a dedicated web server platform using Wi-Fi. This platform acts as the command center, presenting the data in an easily understandable format on a user-friendly dashboard. Users gain access to a wealth of information, enabling informed decisions about the water being measured. Historical data is also readily available, allowing for comprehensive analysis and trend identification.

Designed for simplicity, the system adopts a buoy-based approach for deployment. This innovative feature ensures straightforward and hassle-free installation, making it an ideal solution for various ocean monitoring scenarios.

AquaSync Analytics User Interface Demo

Performance Evaluation

Undergoing rigorous testing against three distinct water samples, the system underwent a comparative analysis with highly accurate lab equipment, generously provided by UVic’s chemistry department. The results revealed comparable accuracy, although the system demonstrated room for improvement in responsiveness. Despite this, the system’s performance surpasses traditional manual methods, showcasing its effectiveness in monitoring water quality.

The team would like to thank Dr. Hong-Chuan Yang and Ali Dehghanian for their guidance and Dr. Juergen Ehlting for his assistance in sensor performance verification. The team also acknowledges Ocean Startup Project for financial support. For those interested in a visual overview of the project, check out the website: .

KelpNet prototype

AquaSync Analytics: Pioneering Water Quality Monitoring Through IoT

Project by: John Hubler, Connor Wiebe

Supervisor: Dr. Navneet Kaur Popli

Author: Rudra Pratap Singh

In an era where environmental sustainability becomes increasingly crucial, the AquaSync Analytics project emerges as a beacon of innovation in water quality monitoring. Developed by John Hubler and Connor Wiebe under the guidance of Dr. Navneet Kaur Popli and Rudra Pratap Singh, this prototype system represents a significant advancement in leveraging Internet of Things (IoT) technology for environmental science.

Innovative Design and Implementation

At the core of AquaSync Analytics lies a meticulously designed network of sensors capable of accurately measuring temperature, pH, and conductivity, interfaced with an Arduino UNO. This setup allows for real-time, precise monitoring of water quality parameters, essential for environmental research and management.

Website of the Seaker Marine Asset Tracking

Data Processing and Visualization

Data collected by the AquaSync system undergoes processing through an ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) pipeline, ensuring its readiness for analysis and application. A standout feature of the project is its web application, developed using Python for backend operations and ReactJs for the frontend.  This application, as visualized here, provides a user-friendly interface for visualizing water quality data, making it accessible to researchers, environmental managers, and the public.

Adherence to Standards and Safety

The development of AquaSync Analytics was guided by a strong commitment to safety, privacy, and compliance with industry standards.  This focus on reliability and security not only enhances the system’s operational integrity but also ensures its sustainability and environmental compatibility.

Implications for Environmental Monitoring

AquaSync Analytics introduces a new paradigm in environmental monitoring, offering a scalable and efficient solution for tracking water quality. Its ability to provide detailed, real-time insights into aquatic environments has profound implications for ecological research, conservation efforts, and policymaking.

A user-friendly dashboard

Future Prospects and Expansion

Looking forward, the AquaSync Analytics project holds the potential to revolutionize water quality management across various ecosystems. Its scalable design and flexible architecture allow for adaptation and implementation in diverse environmental contexts, promising a broader impact on global conservation efforts.

In conclusion, the AquaSync Analytics prototype stands out as a testament to the power of IoT technology in advancing environmental sustainability. By combining innovative sensor technology with advanced data processing and visualization tools, this project sets a new standard in water quality monitoring, underscoring the importance of technology in safeguarding our planet’s water resources.

Harnessing IoT for Marine Conservation: The KelpNet Prototype

Project by: Brett Dionello, Logan Winter

Supervisor: Dr. Navneet Kaur Popli

Author: Rudra Pratap Singh

In the dynamic landscape of environmental technology, the “IoT Seaweed Farm Water Quality Monitoring” project, developed by Brett Dionello and Logan Winter under the guidance of Dr. Navneet Kaur Popli and Rudra Pratap Singh, represents a pioneering prototype showcased at the University of Victoria’s UVic Ocean Challenge 2023. Named KelpNet, this prototype is a testament to the potential of Internet of Things (IoT) technology in transforming environmental monitoring. As a proof of concept, KelpNet focuses on real-time monitoring of crucial water quality parameters within seaweed farms, utilizing Arduino microcontrollers and Raspberry Pi computers for data collection and analysis. This innovative approach not only highlights the project’s potential impact on sustainable agriculture but also underscores the importance of continued development and testing to realize a fully operational system capable of supporting marine ecosystems globally.

Technological Innovation at Its Core

KelpNet integrates sophisticated Arduino microcontrollers and Raspberry Pi computers to monitor water quality in seaweed farms in real-time. Employing Modbus protocol and MQTT for seamless data transmission to an AWS Timestream database, this prototype promises accuracy and reliability in environmental monitoring.

A Commitment to Sustainability

The developers’ strict adherence to industry standards ensures that KelpNet is not just innovative but also sustainable and environmentally friendly. This commitment extends to ensuring operational integrity and data security, underlining the project’s dedication to tackling marine conservation challenges head-on.

Impacting Marine Ecosystem Management

KelpNet offers invaluable insights into water quality, enabling seaweed farm operators to make informed decisions that bolster both sustainability and productivity. This prototype paves the way for technology-driven environmental conservation, highlighting a proactive approach to global sustainable agricultural practices.

Future Prospects and Expansion

KelpNet’s scalable design hints at a transformative potential for marine conservation and seaweed farming. Its adaptability promises wide-ranging applications, offering a new blueprint for ecological monitoring and conservation strategies. As a prototype, KelpNet is a glimpse into the possibilities that lie at the intersection of technology and marine ecosystem sustainability.

In conclusion, the KelpNet project is a beacon of innovation in the quest for environmental sustainability. As a prototype, it encapsulates the potential of IoT technology in advancing marine conservation efforts, marking a pivotal moment in the journey towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future.

Seaker Marine Asset Tracking

Project by: Bradley Scott, Joey Boyer

Supervisor: Dr. Navneet Kaur Popli

Author: Rudra Pratap Singh


In an era marked by rapid technological advancement and growing environmental consciousness, the Seaker Marine Asset Tracking system emerges as a beacon of innovation. A prototype developed by a talented team from the University of Victoria, comprising Bradley Scott and Joey Boyer, under the guidance of Dr. Navneet Kaur Popli and Rudra Pratap Singh for the ECE 356 course and UVic Ocean Challenge 2023, this project represents a significant leap forward in the field of marine asset tracking.

The Genesis of Seaker

The inception of the prototype Seaker project was driven by the urgent need for improved marine asset management, particularly in response to the increasing challenges of maritime navigation, logistics, and environmental preservation. Recognizing the potential of Internet of Things (IoT) technology to revolutionize this domain, the team set out to create a system that could offer real-time, accurate tracking of marine assets.

Technological Backbone

At the core of the Seaker system is a sophisticated integration of a Vue.js frontend application with the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Timestream database, enabled by a microcontroller. This setup not only facilitates seamless data uplinking but also enriches the user experience with dynamic updates on asset locations, weather forecasts, and tide data through a user-friendly dashboard. The employment of MQTT protocols for efficient message transfer and the implementation of SSL certificates for data security exemplify the project’s commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology to ensure data reliability and system integrity.

Challenges and Innovations

Throughout its development, the Seaker project encountered and overcame various challenges, from ensuring the durability of hardware components in harsh marine environments to maintaining the security of sensitive data. Innovations such as the use of robust encryption methods and the integration of environmental data sources into the tracking system played a crucial role in addressing these challenges.

Impact and Future Prospects

The Seaker Marine Asset Tracking system not only enhances the efficiency and safety of maritime operations but also offers a powerful tool for environmental monitoring and conservation efforts. By providing detailed, real-time information on marine conditions, the system enables more informed decision-making and strategic planning for preserving marine ecosystems.


The success of the Seaker project at the UVic Ocean Challenge is a testament to the power of collaborative innovation and technological ingenuity in addressing contemporary challenges. As the system continues to evolve, it holds the promise of setting new standards in marine asset tracking, opening up new possibilities for safeguarding our oceans and ensuring the sustainability of marine operations.