Case Report :ESM30 in lake monitoring
Wuhan is the capital city of Hubei province in central China and has 166 lakes that cover 2,217 square km (856 square miles) and approximately 25% of the city.  This surface water coverage is one of the world’s highest.  
The Wuhan Environmental Protection Bureau (WHEPB website: is responsible for monitoring the surface water quality within the city borders and does this by monitoring a subset of 50 lakes on a yearly basis for temperature, conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen and turbidity.  Before using the Oceanalpha ESM30 Water Quality Sampling & Monitoring Boat, WHEPB needed three months to do this by taking a manned boat into each lake.

The Oceanalpha ESM30 Water Quality Sampling & Monitoring Boat works autonomously based on GPS waypoint navigation that a user programs with a portable control station from the shore.  The boat contains a multi-parameter sonde connected to a flow cell and an on-board pump.  Using the ESM30, WHEPB surveyed 50 lakes in 14 days for a 640% improvement in efficiency.  As an additional safety benefit, workers did not need to go onto the water.
- ESM30 Water Quality Sampling & Monitoring Boat
- ESM30 Control Station (included)
- Multi-parameter water quality sonde (included)

- Flow cell (included)

Pic.1 Wuhan lakes cover nearly 25% of the cityPic2&3 The ESM30 is portable.  It is 1150×750×430 mm (45x30x17 in) and 31 kg (68 lbs).  Two people can easily take the ESM30 from site to site in a field vehicle.

Pic4. Inside the ESM30

Pic.4A Water sampling boxPic.5&6 Mission planning. Users create a custom mission using a graphical user interface (GUI) and downloaded map of the waterbody.Pic.7&8 Water quality parameters and mission status information such as cruising distance, mission completed percentage, and time remaining can be monitored real-time with the software.

Pic.9 10 11 12 The ESM30 on a missionPic.13&14 At the end of a mission water samples are taken from the sampling box for offsite lab analysis.

Pic. 15 16 17 18 The software uses data from the multi-parameter sonde during a mission to create water quality distribution maps


Oceanalpha makes portable, unmanned surface vessels (USV) for water quality professionals that are responsible for sampling, monitoring, or surveying large areas of surface water. Use of a USV reduces the amount of time, labor, and equipment needed to collect water quality data compared to traditional methods that require at least two technicians in a full-size boat going from site to site to collect samples or make measurements. Agencies have seen more than 600% improvements in efficiency while also reducing risk by keeping technicians and full-size vessels on shore. 
The Wuhan Environmental Protection Bureau used the Oceanalpha ESM30 Water Quality Sampling & Monitoring Boat to reduce the amount of time and labor needed to do a water quality survey by a factor of 6 and reduced the safety risk for their field personnel.  The ESM30 proved to be a great tool for surface water quality monitoring and helped the bureau serve its mission of protecting the aquatic environment.
Using typical costs in the US market – $1000/day to operate a full-size boat and 2 water quality technicians making $40,000/year – and applying these to the Wuhan Environmental Protection Bureau example, users can save over $100,000 on an annual basis.

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