US20080148816A1 - Air monitoring system and method - Google Patents

Air monitoring system and method Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080148816A1
US20080148816A1 US11644755 US64475506A US2008148816A1 US 20080148816 A1 US20080148816 A1 US 20080148816A1 US 11644755 US11644755 US 11644755 US 64475506 A US64475506 A US 64475506A US 2008148816 A1 US2008148816 A1 US 2008148816A1
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device
system
instruments
fig
invention
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US11644755
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Bruce D. Groves
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EMILCOTT ASSOCIATES Inc
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Groves Bruce D
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01NINVESTIGATING OR ANALYSING MATERIALS BY DETERMINING THEIR CHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
    • G01N1/00Sampling; Preparing specimens for investigation
    • G01N1/02Devices for withdrawing samples
    • G01N1/22Devices for withdrawing samples in the gaseous state
    • G01N1/26Devices for withdrawing samples in the gaseous state with provision for intake from several spaces
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01NINVESTIGATING OR ANALYSING MATERIALS BY DETERMINING THEIR CHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
    • G01N1/00Sampling; Preparing specimens for investigation
    • G01N1/02Devices for withdrawing samples
    • G01N1/22Devices for withdrawing samples in the gaseous state
    • G01N1/2273Atmospheric sampling
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01NINVESTIGATING OR ANALYSING MATERIALS BY DETERMINING THEIR CHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
    • G01N15/00Investigating characteristics of particles; Investigating permeability, pore-volume, or surface-area of porous materials
    • G01N15/02Investigating particle size or size distribution
    • G01N15/0205Investigating particle size or size distribution by optical means, e.g. by light scattering, diffraction, holography or imaging
    • G01N15/0227Investigating particle size or size distribution by optical means, e.g. by light scattering, diffraction, holography or imaging using imaging, e.g. a projected image of suspension; using holography
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01NINVESTIGATING OR ANALYSING MATERIALS BY DETERMINING THEIR CHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
    • G01N35/00Automatic analysis not limited to methods or materials provided for in any single one of groups G01N1/00 - G01N33/00; Handling materials therefor
    • G01N35/00584Control arrangements for automatic analysers
    • G01N35/00722Communications; Identification
    • G01N35/00871Communications between instruments or with remote terminals

Abstract

An environmental monitoring system and method is disclosed. The system includes one or more environmental measuring instruments, a controller in communication with the one or more environmental instruments, and a device located remotely from the controller capable of displaying data generated by the one or more environmental measuring instruments.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates to the monitoring of environmental and air quality, for example, at construction sites, demolition sites, remediation sites and emergency sites.
  • [0002]
    Monitoring air and environmental quality has become an important procedure. Consider, for example, the importance of monitoring air quality in downtown New York City where numerous people have become ill in the last five years. Today's systems provide limited information, and are unable to both control stations and remotely review data in a way to be able to make decisions quickly.
  • [0003]
    Accordingly, new and improved systems and methods for monitoring air quality are needed.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0004]
    The environmental/air toxic monitoring system (EA-Tox System) of the present invention provides for the real-time monitoring, continuous data logging, and control of a plurality of communications-enabled monitoring instruments on a given site. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, up to 125 instruments can be provided per computer port. The system of the present invention can interface with a variety of instruments from a single control unit. In accordance with one embodiment this interface is provided via a serial communications capability. The system and method of the present invention can also calculate a variety of user-defined statistics while data logging, and providing real-time, usable data for immediate use. It further provides users with remote access to logged data and can communicate user-defined situations such as exceedences via telephone, email, computers, PDAs or other devices/media. It can also provide historical monitoring capabilities.
  • [0005]
    The environmental/air toxics monitoring system, in accordance with one aspect of the present invention, includes multiple components: The Instruments/Data Pool; The Communication System; The Control Unit (the nexus of the EA-TOX SYSTEM); Remote Access; and Annunciators, as shown in FIG. 1.
  • [0006]
    The Instruments/Data Pool
  • [0007]
    The EA-TOX SYSTEM can interface with a variety of environmental monitoring instruments equipped with “serial” type communication capability. Of course, the system of the present invention can also interface with instruments having different types of communication capabilities, such as parallel communications, wireless communication and any other type of communication protocol. The EA-TOX SYSTEM is capable of operating a many different types of environmental/air toxics instrument types (e.g gas, vapor and particulate air monitors, radiation detectors, water monitors, weather detectors) and various types of instrumentation models and brands.
  • [0008]
    The Communication System
  • [0009]
    In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the EA-TOX SYSTEM is highly flexible, with user-adjustable settings for most communications parameters. This allows the user to avoid restrictions that may exist due to hardware limitations associated with specific instruments by modifying settings and parameters. As such, the Communication System can consist of almost any hard wired or wireless serial communication system.
  • [0010]
    Control Unit
  • [0011]
    In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the Control Unit consists of an IBM-compatible computer or other computer meeting minimum hardware specifications and operating the EA-TOX SYSTEM software of the present invention. The EA-TOX SYSTEM software is an integral part of the EA-TOX SYSTEM. It provides the graphical user interface (GUI) between users and instruments; facilitates communications between the Control Unit and the instruments; logs data to the database; performs real-time averages and other statistical calculations; permits varying degrees of remote access; and sends notifications and alerts.
  • [0012]
    One of the primary components of the system of the present invention is a GUI that allows the user to monitor and control instruments and to manipulate data views. The software itself provides a numerous visual displays and can produce a variety of reports and graphs from stored data.
  • [0013]
    When the system is idle (data is not being logged to the database), the following can be altered from the Settings menu in the EA-TOX SYSTEM software:
  • [0014]
    Equipment settings such as active devices, device name, instrument type, and individual threshold values (FIG. 2);
  • [0015]
    Default thresholds, system units, and communications settings (FIG. 3);
  • [0016]
    Application and database settings (FIG. 4); and
  • [0017]
    Map settings such as the map image and text color scheme (FIG. 5).
  • [0018]
    Additionally, a LoopBack Test can be run from the Monitoring menu when the system is idle. The test queries the instruments for monitoring status: Monitoring on—Instrument is on and running; Monitoring off—Instrument is on and not running; or No Response—Instrument is off or communications have failed. Depending on the system settings and the instrument status, the test can determine whether or not EA-TOX SYSTEM queries an instrument during monitoring.
  • [0019]
    The software can retrieve data from instruments with data logging capabilities and integrate and/or synchronize that data into the database. This feature is especially useful in situations where a large number of instruments are being monitored, resulting in potential data gaps related to communications limitations. It can be accessed through the Maintenance menu only when the system is idle.
  • [0020]
    During monitoring, EA-TOX SYSTEM queries instruments continuously at user determined intervals between 1 and 30 seconds, logging data to the database at the Control Unit. Query results for each instrument are displayed on the GUI. The software can also continuously perform a variety of statistical calculations, as determined by the user, display the results on the GUI, and log them to the database. EA-TOX SYSTEM also alerts the user to threshold breeches via audio and visual alerts.
  • [0021]
    EA-TOX SYSTEM offers multiple data viewing options. In the Device View, the GUI displays monitoring status; the time of the most recent query; all instruments to be monitored; an Alert Log listing any readings over warning levels or thresholds; and the Remote Panel Display (FIG. 6). In the Map View, the GUI displays wind speed and direction; the time of the most recent query; instruments to be monitored superimposed on a map of the site/area; an Alert Log; Device Setup menu which allows the user to accurately position devices on the site/area map; and a Device Names button (FIG. 7). When the system is idle, both views show the name and status of each device. The Device View also displays other status-related information, as determined by the user.
  • [0022]
    When the EA-TOX SYSTEM is monitoring, the Device View shows the device name, current reading, and other information (depending on the instrument and monitoring requirements) for each instrument (FIG. 8). If one way communications are provided, the Remote Panel Display cannot be accessed during monitoring due to communications system conflicts. However, in accordance with one aspect of the present invention, two way communications can be provided to eliminate this restriction. In this case, monitoring and control can be provided simultaneously. When the EA-TOX SYSTEM is monitoring, the Map View shows the current wind information and instrument reading and an additional piece of user-defined information (FIG. 8). Device names can be displayed by selecting the Device Names button. When selected, readings and information are momentarily replaced by the name of each device on the screen. A Daily Graph for the current day can be displayed by right-clicking on an instrument box (FIG. 10).
  • [0023]
    The Alert Log displays recent alert messages, as defined by the user. Each message includes the name of the affected device, the reading at the time of the alert, the date and time of the alert, and information about the type of alert. The alerts are saved to the database as they occur and can be reviewed at any time. In addition, the user may opt to save messages in the Alert Log and clear them from the screen.
  • [0024]
    The Remote Panel Display mimics the physical layout of the instruments and allows the user to remotely manipulate individual instruments. The degree of control the Remote Panel Display allows is limited only by the restrictions of a given instrument type to receive commands remotely. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, where limited communication resources are available, instruments can only be accessed when EA-TOX SYSTEM is idle. However, in accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, a second communication loop is added with the instruments so that they can be accessed and controlled when the main system is alive.
  • [0025]
    A variety of reports and graphs can be produced directly from EA-TOX SYSTEM. The Summary Report lists the device name; daily average; monitoring start and stop time; and other user-defined information for a specific day (FIG. 14). The Equipment Activity Report compiles logged data for an individual instrument into a graph over a specified date and time range. The report graphs instantaneous readings, and can also include alarm levels/thresholds, averages (block and running), and other statistical values (FIG. 15). The Log Report lists all the alerts logged on a specific day and includes the time of the alert, the affected device, the alert value, the threshold value, and the type of threshold (FIG. 16). The report can be saved as a text file for use outside of EA-TOX SYSTEM. The Access Database Upload Report retrieves data from the database, outputs it in a pre-determined format depending on the instrument type and user requirements, and allows the file to be saved as a text file for use outside of EA-TOX SYSTEM (FIG. 17).
  • [0026]
    In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, remote access to the system can be gained through an intranet, the Internet, or other remote access protocols. In addition, handheld units with wireless communications such as PDAs can also be used to monitor instruments. Users with permission to remotely access the system of the present invention can monitor and control equipment on a real-time basis from off-site. Users with access to the database are able to view up-to-date logged data. The type and level of access permitted can range from read/view-only to full access/control and is determined by settings on the Control Unit.
  • [0027]
    When the system of the present invention is operating un-staffed or when specific users need to be apprised of certain events, Annunciators can be utilized to relay alerts and/or information. Annunciator messages can be delivered via pager, phone, email, or other forms of electronic communication and can contain a simple message or instantaneous readings and statistics from a given time, as determined by the user.
  • [0028]
    There are many benefits of the system of the present invention. The benefits include, but are not limited to, the centralized, standardized control of an entire environmental and air monitoring system; a high degree of flexibility; and diverse notification and access options. The system and methods in accordance with the various aspects of the present invention also provide the ability to view relevant monitoring data in different views. It also provides multiple levels of alarms.
  • [0029]
    One of the central features of the system of the present invention is the ability for the user to access and control virtually all aspects of the air monitoring instruments and data from the Control Unit. Another key benefit of the system is its high degree of flexibility. It allows a user to monitor a high number of and wide variety of instruments simultaneously. The instrument manufacturer and model are irrelevant, as long as the instrument has serial communications capabilities and can receive commands remotely. In addition, the system's compatibly with virtually any serial communication system allows the user to retain existing systems or implement a system that best suits the situation.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0030]
    FIG. 1 illustrates a system in accordance with one aspect of the present invention.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 2 illustrates a Settings window with the Equipment Setup Tab selected in accordance with one aspect of the present invention.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 3 illustrates the Settings window with the Equipment Settings Tab selected in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 4 illustrates the Settings window with the Application Tab selected in accordance with one aspect of the present invention.
  • [0034]
    FIG. 5 illustrates the Settings window with the Map Tab selected in accordance with one aspect of the invention.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 6 illustrates a Device View Window in accordance with one aspect of the present invention.
  • [0036]
    FIG. 7 illustrates a Map View window in accordance with one aspect of the present invention.
  • [0037]
    FIG. 8 illustrates another view of the Device View window in accordance with another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0038]
    FIG. 9 illustrates another view of the Map View window in accordance with another aspect of the present invention.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 10 illustrates the window entitled Map View when the daily graph function has been selected.
  • [0040]
    FIGS. 11 to 13 illustrate various aspects of remote control of the environmental measuring instruments in accordance with one aspect of the present invention.
  • [0041]
    FIG. 14 illustrates a summary report provided in accordance with one aspect of the present invention.
  • [0042]
    FIG. 15 illustrates an equipment activity report provided in accordance with an aspect of the invention.
  • [0043]
    FIG. 16 illustrates a log report provided in accordance with one aspect of the present invention.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 17 illustrates an access database upload file provided in accordance with one aspect of the present invention.
  • DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • [0045]
    FIG. 1 illustrates an EA/TOX monitoring system in accordance with various aspects of the present invention. Environmental air monitoring instruments 10 to 13 are provided. These instruments can monitor a wide variety of environmental and air toxic qualities. For example, they can monitor air quality, water quality and radiation. They can monitor aerosols, dust, particulates, gases, vapors and other components in air. Examples of devices that can be used include dust and aerosol monitors, photo ionization detectors, flame ionization detectors, electrochemical detectors and other detectors of solids, liquids, vapors and gases. The instruments 10 to 13 are in communication with a base station 14.
  • [0046]
    In accordance with one aspect of the present invention the communication between instruments 10 to 13 and the base station 14 is provided via a wireless link. The communication is preferably two-way between the instruments 10 to 13 and the base station 14. Accordingly, each of the instruments 10 to 13 and the base station 14 has a two-way radio device in it. Of course, communications between instruments 10 to 13 and the base station 14 can also be provided via wired connection or via any other means.
  • [0047]
    In accordance with another aspect of the present invention a weather instrument 16 can also be provided. The weather instrument measures pertinent weather data, such as wind speed and direction. The weather instrument 16 is in communication with the base station 14. Again, the communication between the weather instrument 16 and the base station 14 can be provided wirelessly, via a wire connection or by any other communication means.
  • [0048]
    Instruments 10 to 13 are preferably located around a perimeter of a site. Additional instruments can be provided in the interior of the site or at any location or area designated for monitoring, if desired. The site can be a remediation site where environmental clean up is occurring and is important to measure the quality of the air as toxic materials are removed from the site. This site can also be any other construction site, demolition site, remediation site or emergency site. Sufficient instruments are utilized so as to be able to provide the good coverage around the perimeter of the site as well as at interior points inside the site.
  • [0049]
    A control unit 18 is in communication with base station 14. The control unit 18 is generally provided in a structure located on the site being monitored, although the control unit 18 can be provided anywhere. The communications between the base station 14 and the control unit 18 is typically provided via wired connection. The communications can also be provided by a wireless interface, such as a radio interface.
  • [0050]
    The control unit 18 includes computers and databases. The control unit 18 receives data from the instruments 10 to 13 and 16 and causes that information be stored in a database and displayed at the control unit 18. The control unit 18 can also provide control of the instruments 10 to 13.
  • [0051]
    An Internet connection interface 20 is provided to the control unit 18. Thus, various devices such as an alarm 22, another CRT 24 or a PDA 26 can be provided. Data from the instruments 10 to 13 and 16 that are stored at the control unit 18 can be displayed on the devices 22, 24 and 26 via the Internet connection 20. The information displayed on the devices 22, 24 and 26 can be real time data as it is obtained from the instruments 10 to 13 or it can be historical data obtained from the database of the control unit 18. The displayed information can also be a combination of both real time and historical data.
  • [0052]
    A remote annunciator 30 can also be provided and be placed in communication with the control unit 18. The remote annunciator 30 can be a phone, a radio, and/or a PDA. Again, the information displayed at the remote annunciator 30 can be real time data as the control unit 18 obtains such data from the instruments 10 to 13 and 16, or it can be historical data from the database at the control unit 18. Alarms, as they occur from the instruments 10 to 13 can also be provided at the remote annunciator 30.
  • [0053]
    FIG. 2 illustrates a window available at the control unit 18. The window is labeled Settings. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the window has several tabs. FIG. 2 illustrates the Equipment Setup Tab in accordance with a preferred aspect of the present invention. A person at the control unit accesses the window of FIG. 2 and the Equipment Setup Tab to determine what the status of instruments 10 to 13 are as well as to provide control of the instruments 10 to 13. In the example of FIG. 2, eleven devices are listed, although more can be provided by scrolling the window down. The type of devices are preferably listed in the column entitled Device Type and the device name, and can be user assigned. The status of each device (active or disabled) is provided and controlled in the second column labeled Active in check boxes. A check in the check box indicates that the device is active. A lack of a check in the check box means the device is disabled.
  • [0054]
    In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, clicking on a check box when the associated device is disabled will activate the device. Similarly, clicking on a check box when the associated device is enabled will disable the device.
  • [0055]
    Various thresholds associated with each active device are also illustrated under the four columns entitled Thresholds. Two types of thresholds are provided. A current threshold which is an instantaneous threshold, is provided. An average threshold, which is a time average rolling average (typically for 15 minutes) is also provided. Two thresholds are provided for the current threshold and the average threshold. The first threshold is a warning threshold and the second threshold is a not-to-exceed threshold. Thus, for example, for device 1, if a measurement of 200 is obtained as an instantaneous reading, a warning alarm is generated by the control unit 18. The control unit 18 sends an alarm according to a variety of programming methods. If the instantaneous measure, however, exceeds 380, then a second distinct alarm is enabled by the control unit 18. In this case, a second set of action items will be taken as a more serious threat has been detected. Similarly, two alarms are provided for the moving average thresholds as well. The alarm 22, CRT 24, PDA 26 or the other remote annunciators 30 can sound an alarm when any of the thresholds are crossed.
  • [0056]
    The individual instruments 10 to 13 can also generate alarms. Those alarms could be transmitted to the control unit 15 and used to generate system alarms to the CRT 24, PDA 16 or other remote annunciator 30. The alarms from the individual instruments 10 to 13 can be used independently from the alarms generated from the control unit 15 or they can be used in conjunction with the alarms generated by the control unit 15.
  • [0057]
    The setting information on this window can be saved to the database of the control unit 18 by pressing the Save button. Default settings can be restored by selecting the Restart Default Settings command button.
  • [0058]
    FIG. 3 illustrates the Settings window with the Equipment Settings Tab enabled in accordance with an aspect of the present invention. Under this tab, a separate tab for each device is provided in accordance with one aspect of the present invention. The control settings for a device can be set by accessing the tab for the desired device. Thus, for example, the two current thresholds and the two average thresholds discussed earlier can be set by accessing text boxes 40 to 43. The units associated with the thresholds can be selected in text box 44. The units indicated in FIG. 3 are expressed in micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3), however, a wide variety of units (e.g. ppm, rads, pH, decibels) can be used depending on the parameters of the instrument and the material being monitored. The temperature units (F or C) associated with the device can be selected in the text box 45.
  • [0059]
    The communications protocol for the device being controlled are set by accessing text boxes 46 to 52. The communication port is selected in text box 46. The port speed is selected in text box 47. The number of data bits is selected in text box 48. The use of parity is selected in text box 49. The number of stop bits is selected in text box 50. The read timeouts and the write timeouts are selected in text boxes 51 and 52, respectively. These settings determine the amount of time a control unit 15 will wait for a signal before it decides to move to the next instrument. Any necessary communications protocols can be controlled by providing the appropriate interface.
  • [0060]
    The default control settings for a device can be reset to the default settings by selecting the Restore Default Settings command button.
  • [0061]
    FIG. 4 illustrates the Settings window with the Application Tab selected in accordance with one aspect of the present invention. The application tab is used to set operating parameters for the system. In the example of FIG. 4, the operating parameters are set in windows control interfaces 54 to 64. In box 54, the minimum loop interval is set. The interval is the time it takes for each instrument 10 to 13 to respond to the base station 14. In this case, the loop interval is 10 seconds so that every 10 seconds, each one of the instruments 10 to 13 provides data to the bases station 14.
  • [0062]
    An inter-device delay can be set in box 55. This is the time delay between the responses by individual instruments 10 to 13. Check box 56 can be checked to implement a start up test. If the check box 56 is checked, then a loopback test is conducted on the instruments 10 to 13 on system start up. The loopback test queries all instruments to establish the status of the communication link to each device and their ability to respond to the base station. The loop back test is done at system start up automatically or it can also be done manually.
  • [0063]
    The font size of the display of the map and device windows can be selected in box 57. The type of alerts the system issues can be set with check box 58. If check box 58 is selected, then the system issues audible alerts when a threshold or a series of thresholds are exceeded. The type of the audible alert can be selected in a box 59.
  • [0064]
    The parameters to connect to the database in the control unit 18 are set in boxes 60 to 63. The mode (normal or diagnostic) is set in box 64. Again, all default settings for the operating parameters can be restored by clicking on the command button Restore Default Settings.
  • [0065]
    FIG. 5 illustrates the Settings Window with the Map Tab selected in accordance with one aspect of the invention. The map that is displayed by the system is selected in box 70. The color scheme of the map that is displayed is selected in box 72. Again, all default settings for the operating parameters can be restored by clicking on the command button Restore Default Settings.
  • [0066]
    The control unit stores various maps that can be displayed with the area being monitored. By way of example only, all standard image/graphical formats (jpg, gif, bit maps, pdf) can be used as the map in the system.
  • [0067]
    Additionally, multiple maps can be used. Thus, maps of various areas being monitored can be displayed and selected by a user for viewing in accordance with the present invention.
  • [0068]
    FIG. 6 illustrates a Device View window in accordance with one aspect of the present invention. On the left side of the window, the status of each monitoring device in the system (10 to 13 in FIG. 1) is displayed. In the case of FIG. 6, Device 1, Device 4, Device 5, Device 6, Device 7, Device 8, Device 9, Device 10, Device 11, Device 20, Device 21, Device 22, Device 23, and Device 24 are displayed. These devices are the same monitoring instruments 10 to 13 illustrated in FIG. 1, and are connected to the base station 14.
  • [0069]
    A status for each device is displayed. Thus, for example, the status of Device 1 is “Monitoring On” indicating that the device is monitoring its surrounding environment. Similarly, Device 5, Device 8, Device 9, Device 10, Device 20, Device 21, Device 22, Device 23, and Device 24 all have a status of “Monitoring On” which indicates that they are actively monitoring the environment.
  • [0070]
    Device 4 has a “No Response” status, indicating that Device 4 is not reporting to the base station 14. Similarly, Device 6, Device 7, and Device 11 have a No Response status indicating that they are not reporting to the base station 14. If desired, a person can be dispatched to investigate the operational status of the devices. In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, an alarm can be issued by the control unit 18 to indicate which devices are not operational or not reporting back to the base station 14. The alarm can be played on the alarm 22 or the remote annunciator 30.
  • [0071]
    For those devices that are reporting back to the base station (having a “Monitoring On” status), Available Instrument Memory Capacity (M) and Battery Status (B) are also indicated. The instrument memory is the memory available to device specific data log which can be synched to control unit data log.
  • [0072]
    Thus, it is possible to synch the data in the instruments 10 to 13 to the data in the control unit 15.
  • [0073]
    On the right hand side of the window illustrated in FIG. 6, an alert log is maintained. Alerts are generated when a measurement from one of the devices 10 to 13 exceeds any one of the thresholds previously described. The alert log indicates which device triggered the alert, the date of the alert, the time of the alert and the type of alert. If the first threshold was exceeded, the alert log indicates that the alert is a warning. If the second threshold is exceeded, the alert log indicates that the alert is a action_level alert. The control unit 18 can generate an alarm if the box 58 in FIG. 4 is checked. These alarms can be distributed to other computer stations or portable devices, as previously described.
  • [0074]
    In the bottom part of the left side of the window illustrated in FIG. 6, the remote panel display of a selected device is illustrated. The device is selected in box 80. In FIG. 6, Device 1 is selected. Nothing is displayed in the remote panel display box 82 because Device 1 is not responding. If Device 1 had been responding, then the box 82 would mimic the Device 1 instrument, and all the parameters of Device 1 to be selectively controlled.
  • [0075]
    FIG. 7 illustrates a window entitled Map View in accordance with one aspect of the present invention. This window is preferably accessed by selecting View|Map from the window menu of the Device View window of FIG. 6. A user can return to the Device View window of FIG. 6 by selecting the control 86.
  • [0076]
    The Map View window of FIG. 7 illustrates the operation of the monitoring system of the present invention on a map. The map illustrated is an image file that is used for background. The location and status of the monitoring instruments or devices is overlaid on top of the map to better illustrate the operation of the monitoring system. The illustrated map is an aerial view of the location being monitored. Other types of maps and images can be used.
  • [0077]
    Each monitoring device is illustrated with two boxes in FIG. 7. The top box provides the name of the monitoring device and the bottom box illustrates the status of the monitoring device. In FIG. 7, monitoring is not active, as indicated by the Ready status of the monitoring devices. The locations of the devices on the map can be moved (dragged) by the computer mouse to a desired location. The location of these devices on the map view can be precisely determined and placed using standard mapping coordinates, GPS data or other survey measurement means.
  • [0078]
    Information boxes 88 and 90 are provided to indicate wind speed and wind direction, respectively. This information is generally provided by the weather monitoring instrument 16.
  • [0079]
    FIG. 8 illustrates another view of the Device View window in accordance with another aspect of the present invention. This is a view of the Device View window in accordance with an aspect of the present invention. As before, information for each device is displayed in a box labeled with the device name and information for the device is also displayed in the box labeled with the device name. The information can include instantaneous readings, a running average, as well as other information, depending on the type of monitoring instrument being used. In the case of FIG. 8, an instantaneous reading as reported to the base station 14 is displayed in the first line. A running average of the readings from each device is displayed in the second line. Additionally, the relative humidity and the temperature are also displayed. The parameters displayed are configurable and will depend on the type of monitoring instrument being used.
  • [0080]
    FIG. 8 also illustrates the Alert Log and the Remote Panel Display that have been previously discussed.
  • [0081]
    FIG. 9 illustrates the Map View window in accordance with another aspect of the present invention. In this case, monitoring is active. Again each monitoring device has two boxes associated with it. The top box has the current instantaneous reading reported by the monitoring device to the base station 14. The bottom box has a running average of the readings reported by the monitoring device to the base station 14. The averages are computed by the control unit 15, but could be computed elsewhere.
  • [0082]
    FIG. 9 includes the wind direction and wind speed boxes 100 and 102, as previously discussed. The box 100 indicates that the wind direction is northwest and the box 102 indicates that the wind speed in 10.9. As can be seen, the Map View window provides a convenient and easy method for viewing the operations of a monitoring system. Any number of data points, device identifiers, and/or statistical information can be configured for display in these boxes.
  • [0083]
    FIG. 10 illustrates the operation of the system in accordance with one aspect of the present invention when one of the devices in the map of FIG. 9 is selected. As shown in FIG. 10, when one of the devices are selected, a box asking whether a graph should be displayed is shown. Selecting yes causes an activity graph, such as the one illustrated in FIG. 15, to be displayed.
  • [0084]
    FIGS. 11 to 13 illustrate various aspects of controlling the measuring devices 10 to 13 in accordance with further aspects of the present invention. In FIG. 11, the Remote Panel Display 103 asks a user to select a device to be controlled. Available choices, such as FD-1, Device 2, Device 3, FD-4, etc., are shown in a drop down list box. In FIGS. 12 and 13, the user has selected device FD-4. The Remote Panel Display box displays the panel of the selected monitoring device 10 to 13, so that a user can see the panel from a display in the control unit 15 or at any of the remote devices 22, 24 or 30. The selected monitoring device 10 to 13 can be controlled by using the buttons and arrows at the bottom of the Remote Panel Display.
  • [0085]
    FIG. 14 illustrates a summary report provided in accordance with one aspect of the present invention. This window is preferably accessed by selecting Reports|Summary Report in the menu for the Device View window shown in FIG. 6.
  • [0086]
    The summary report provides an operational report for each monitoring device that has provided data to the base station 14. For each device that is reporting, an average of the values reported during the time interval between a start time and a stop time, the start time and the stop time are shown. A maximum block average and the block end time are also shown in the report. The block averages are at set times, in this case 15 minutes. The block end time is the time of a maximum block reading. If no values have been reported, then that is indicated in the summary report.
  • [0087]
    FIG. 15 illustrates an equipment activity report provided in accordance with an aspect of the invention. This report is selected by selecting Reports|Equipment Activity Report in the menu for the Device View window shown in FIG. 6 and or selecting instrument location and right clicking in FIG. 10. This report displays a graph of instantaneous data logged to an SQL or other type of database in the control unit 18.
  • [0088]
    The instrument monitoring device that is displayed is selected in the drop down list box 110. The starting time of the data displayed is selected in boxes 112 to 114. The ending time of the data displayed is selected in boxes 116 to 118.
  • [0089]
    The type of information displayed is selected in check boxes 120 to 123. If check box 120 is selected, then a running average of the data reported by the selected device is displayed. In FIG. 15, check box 120 is not selected so there is no running average displayed. If the check box 121 is selected, then block averages of the data reported by the selected device is displayed. In FIG. 15, the block average is illustrated on line 124. The block average is the average of the values over a block of time.
  • [0090]
    If check box 122 is selected, then a warning level threshold is displayed. The warning level threshold is shown in FIG. 15 as line 126. If check box 123 is selected, then an action level threshold is displayed. The action level threshold is shown in FIG. 15 as line 128. The thresholds displayed can be either current thresholds or average thresholds illustrated and discussed with respect to FIG. 3. In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, all four of the thresholds can be displayed in FIG. 15.
  • [0091]
    The instantaneous values reported by the selected device is displayed as line 130. The block average line is shown as line 124.
  • [0092]
    FIG. 16 illustrates a log report provided in accordance with one aspect of the present invention. This report is selected by selecting Reports|Log in the menu for the Device View window shown in FIG. 6. This report displays all warnings or alerts logged on a given day. The time of the warning/alarm, the ID of the monitoring device, the value of the data reported by the device, the threshold exceeded, and type of threshold exceeded are displayed. The report can be saved as a text file.
  • [0093]
    FIG. 17 illustrates an access database upload file provided in accordance with one aspect of the present invention. The data from the system of the present invention can be uploaded to Excel or to other databases. This report is selected by selecting Reports|Access Database Upload in the menu for the Device View window shown in FIG. 6. This report retrieves data from the database in the control unit 18 and displays it in a pre-determined format. The report can be saved as a text file. The device for which the report is prepared is selected in box 140 and the date of the report is selected in box 142.
  • [0094]
    Various forms of reports can be prepared and reported in this window. While not shown in FIG. 14, a drop down list box can be provided to allow the selection of those various forms.
  • [0095]
    Although the invention herein has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it is to be understood that these embodiments are merely illustrative of the principles and applications of the present invention. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the apparatus and methods of the present invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Thus, it is intended that the present invention include modifications and variations that are within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

Claims (20)

  1. 1. An environmental monitoring system, comprising:
    one or more environmental measuring instruments;
    a controller in communication with the one or more environmental instruments; and
    a device located remotely from the controller capable of displaying data generated by the one or more environmental measuring instruments.
  2. 2. The system of claim 1, wherein the communication between the controller and the one or more environmental measuring instruments is wireless.
  3. 3. The system of claim 1, comprising a base station that provides communications between the one or more environmental measuring instruments and the controller.
  4. 4. The system of claim 1, comprising one or more displays at the controller capable of displaying data generated by the one or more environmental measuring instruments.
  5. 5. The system of claim 1, wherein the device and the controller have the capability of controlling the one or more environmental measuring instruments.
  6. 6. The system of claim 1, wherein the device can selectively display a map mode showing a location of the one or more environmental measuring instruments and a device mode showing operational parameters of the one or more environmental measuring instruments.
  7. 7. The system of claim 1, wherein the device can display data generated by the one or more environmental measuring instruments graphically.
  8. 8. The system of claim 1, wherein the device can issue one or more alarms depending on the data generated by the one or more environmental measuring instruments.
  9. 9. An environmental monitoring system, comprising:
    one or more environmental measuring instruments;
    a controller in communication with the one or more environmental instruments; and
    one or more displays capable of selectively display a map mode showing a location of the one or more environmental measuring instruments and a device mode showing operational parameters of the one or more environmental measuring instruments.
  10. 10. The system of claim 9, wherein the map mode also shows data collected by the one or more environmental measuring instruments.
  11. 11. The system of claim 9, wherein the map mode can selectively show one of a plurality of maps.
  12. 12. The system of claim 9, wherein the controller can issue one or more alarms depending on the data generated by the one or more environmental measuring instruments.
  13. 13. The system of claim 9, wherein the display and the controller have the capability of controlling the one or more environmental measuring instruments.
  14. 14. The system of claim 10, wherein the controller and the one or more environmental measuring instruments store data collected by the one or more environmental measuring instruments and the data at the controller is synchronized with the data at the one or more environmental measuring instruments.
  15. 15. An environmental monitoring system, comprising:
    one or more environmental measuring instruments that collect a plurality of data;
    a controller in communication with the one or more environmental instruments; and
    one or more displays capable of displaying a concentration of the plurality of data from one of the one or more environmental measuring instruments over time
  16. 16. The system of claim 15, wherein the plurality of data displayed is instantaneous data.
  17. 17. The system of claim 15, wherein the plurality of data displayed is in a running average format.
  18. 18. The system of claim 16, wherein the plurality of data displayed is in a block average format.
  19. 19. The system of claim 15, wherein the controller can issue one or more alarms depending on the data generated by the one or more environmental measuring instruments.
  20. 20. The system of claim 15, wherein the display and the controller have the capability of controlling the one or more environmental measuring instruments.
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US12334061 US7874198B2 (en) 2006-12-22 2008-12-12 Methods and systems for analysis, reporting and display of environmental data
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