Buoy! Oh buoy! Budding scientists can check out Brisbane’s water quality at the World Science Festival buoy.

As we get ready for World Science Festival Brisbane we spoke to Tracey Kay from Axalon, one of our participants from Advance Queensland’s Testing Within Government (TWiG) program.

Axalon co-founder, Tracey Kay

What is happening on the river at World Science Festival Brisbane?

People of all ages can check out the Brisbane River’s water quality on the Queensland Government and Axalon display on 25 and 26 March at Street Science! a part of the World Science Festival Brisbane. We’re monitoring water quality by adding sensors to a buoy in the river and connecting it to a voice-activated system so citizen scientists can ask questions about the water in our capital city.

image courtesy of Queensland Museum

What will they learn about the Brisbane River buoy?

People can find out about a range of quality measures including why the river is brown and what makes up the water. The sensors will monitor the amount of nitrate and oxygen in the water, as well as the amount of chlorophyll-a, which is an indicator of algae.

We’ll have a team of people on hand to help Queenslanders use the equipment to check the health of the water, and understand what it means. The sensors will provide near-real time information on the state of the water at the time of their visit.

What other things can people learn at the display?

Being involved with this Street Science! event will enable us to highlight the work government scientists do to help maintain the natural environment. Visitors can also gain information about how the data collected is used to develop the South East Queensland Healthy Waterways and Catchment Report Card produced each year by the Healthy Land and Water partnership. They can also learn about upgrades to sewerage treatment plants the government has made in the last decade that has produced major reductions in nitrogenous nutrients in the Brisbane River estuary.

Come and see us at stand 13 at Street Science!

Tell us about your other work with the Queensland Government?

Last year we took part in the TWiG helping the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation test a single platform that could streamline the delivery of its environmental monitoring data.

The department uses data that is captured throughout Queensland from air quality stations in Mount Isa to wave buoys off the coast of Cairns down to water quality sites in Bramble Bay. It’s a handful of different networks, containing many sites each recording data from multiple sensors, collected, stored and delivered in different ways.

Axalon presentation at TWiG

What was the best thing about being involved in TWiG last year?

During the 12-week program, we had the opportunity to test our platform on a larger scale, and shape our Internet of Things and voice product so that it’s ready for release.

We co-located at the EcoSciences Precinct and had access to the team to progress the problem that was set.

From an industry perspective it’s fantastic that Advance Queensland is supporting innovation by encouraging startups to work with government through this program.

We’d encourage any tech startups to consider participating in the next round of TWiG challenges.

Advance Queensland update: A new round of the TWiG program was released on 20 March, searching for innovative ICT solutions for 11 government problems. See the Advance Queensland website to be a part of the TWiG program.

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