Home The coolest sensor deployment…in the hottest place

The coolest sensor deployment…in the hottest place

To tourists, the Masaya volcano is a wondrous national park, but to locals, it is an annoyance that spews out sulfur dioxide gas and could possibly destroy their town if it ever decides to go nuclear.

Sam Cossman, a filmmaker that has an affinity to magma, is currently delving deep into the chambers to ensure that if the volcano does show warning signs, locals and the government will be informed ahead of time.

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On his ventures into the volcano, Cossman installs IoT sensors for the Nicaraguan government. The sensors feed data to General Electric’s Predix software platform, which can provide insights on the volcano’s activity, painting a clearer picture of what’s happening inside.

Nicaragua has become a tourist destination for its active volcanos, but not everyone is excited by the prospect of operative natural disaster creators. The government has increased its investment into technology that might better understand the volcanos and how to avoid disaster for locals.

Will it lead to more deployments?

If the Masaya experiment works and data scientists are happy, we might see more deployments across the country. The government can only hope there are more people like Cossman willing to enter the chambers.

Volcanos, like earthquakes, are something scientists still know little about and cannot control. With IoT solutions, like GE’s Predix software, we should get a clearer picture of when a volcano is likely to explode, what are some of the preliminary signs, and discernable patterns.

“We’re pretty excited to have implemented the large majority of our sensors and they seem to  be working well,” said Cossman. “It could be a big step forward in terms of advancing our understanding of volcanic eruptions and protecting the many people around the world who are exposed to their dangers.”

That doesn’t make it any easier to control, though it could give the Nicaraguan government and others more time to prepare evacuations and reduce the amount of destruction to towns and villages.

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