Find the EGU on


LOwCOSt: inexpensive approaches towards invaluable solutions for today´s geochallenges (co-organized)PICO session
Convener: Anette Eltner  | Co-Conveners: Jan Henrik Blöthe , Carlos Castillo 
Low-cost solutions (LOCOS) are used for solving many scientific questions and practical issues already, although not everybody is aware of these approaches. Here we define LOCOS very broadly including single board computer implementations (e.g. Arduino, Raspberry Pi), crowd-sourcing applications, recycling of components for new geo-scientific uses, minimization or substitution of costly substances in the lab, cost-effective ways of communicating and disseminating knowledge, application of free software, opting for naturally-driven processes instead of complex anthropic controls. The implementation of these approaches entails a great opportunity to engage young scientists, less developed countries, low-budget projects as well as people interested in sharing knowledge and to maintain democratic participation. Furthermore, LOCOS are often associated with more environmentally friendly, safe and socially equitable solutions that offer a high degree of flexibility, independence and complexity due to their purpose-built character. However, responsibility regarding the resilience of the scientific results achieved with LOCOS is important. If this challenge is considered carefully, science can greatly benefit from low-cost methods and tools that often trade data quality for sampling density.

LOCOS involve varying prospects in geo-scientific applications due to its flexible implementation and (mostly) simple design: Preliminary studies with very uncertain outcome can be performed before investing in expensive long-term equipment. The observation net of (large) study sites can be densified or set up from scratch with low-cost sensors instead of a few expensive standard devices. At locations and during events with hitherto sparse data coverage, low-cost sensors and/or crowd-sourcing can help to close the spatio-temporal data gaps for future monitoring. The observation of fragile locations with high chances of losing measurement devices becomes legitimate if inexpensive tools are used. LOCOS enables the observation of many different events/processes: e.g. landslides, flash floods, soil erosion events, or sediment flux in rivers, just to name a few.

The session aims for the discussion and display of implementations of low-cost systems (e.g. prototyping, programming, monitoring, …). However, experience of failure are very welcome as well to avoid repeating mistakes. The session aims for knowledge exchange regarding performance analysis of low-cost solutions. Furthermore, possible methods to increase data quality (e.g. calibration, redundancy, …) are anticipated. And of course, the session looks forward to applications in many (different) geoscientific case studies highlighting the potential of LOCOS.