Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Engineering students use technology to clean up environment

31 July 2013

Engineering students use technology to clean up the environment

A smartphone app and website which the public can use to report incidents of environmental pollution have been developed by students at Victoria University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science.

The innovations are part of the River Watch project, carried out by a group of third-year engineering students, supervised by Professor Winston Seah.

The students have also been testing unmanned flying vehicles equipped with GPS technology to record incidents of pollution in New Zealand rivers, particularly those involving livestock.

Professor Seah says the project has been a tremendous opportunity for students to apply their technical expertise to helping solve a real problem.

“The project has involved a wide range of technical work for the students, with the results giving members of the public a way to monitor and report environmental incidents, from livestock polluting waterways, to rubbish dumping and overflows from outfall pipes.

“The smartphone app allows people to upload photographs and automatically generated GPS coordinates of environmental pollution they observe which, once verified, will be made publicly available online,” says Professor Seah.

The River Watch app and website were officially launched today at Victoria University, where guests, including MPs and representatives from local government, heard presentations from Professor Seah, Massey University environmental sustainability expert Dr Mike Joy, and James and Grant Muir who started the Waterway Action Initiative New Zealand (Wai NZ) organisation.

River Watch began as part of a third-year engineering module where students apply their project management skills in a group project. The work continued as a summer research project at Victoria, supported by Wai NZ.

Wai NZ are now using the technology, with the River Watch app now available to download for iPhone. It will also be available for Android. Further details, including an interactive map of photographs collected as part of the River Watch project, are available at the Wai NZ website:


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland