Smart Catchments

Automatic remote data reporting, every 30 minutes, no existing infrastructure required.

FreeUP plans on automating the human task of collecting river data. Our solution will allow for catchment-wide, real-time overviews.


FreeUP and Reaseheath College see the development of Smart Catchments as a step-change improvement in how ecosystem services are designed, optimised and delivered.

A Smart Catchment, allows for data pertinent to ecosystem services and interventions to be available, in real-time, through a cloud dashboard. This information can also be combined with others such as weather, SCIMAP, LIDAR, soil type and land use, to better inform decision making. In-river measurements are performed by autonomous, low-cost sensors, which then report their readings back to the dashboard.

FreeUP and Reaseheath believe that Smart Catchments will improve water quality, alleviate flooding risks, and allow a wide range of ecosystem services to be designed.

Catchment dashboard

This online dashboard will provide, real-time catchment overviews and the ability to take physical samples for later collection.


Real-time overview

A dashboard that will allow for catchment-wide real-time overviews.

  • Data points every 30 minutes rather than weeks or months
  • Personnel will not need to travel to gain catchment data
  • Sensors will be an order of magnitude cheaper allowing for catchment-wide overviews


Remote interaction

Water sampling that can be triggered by real-time water measurements.

  • Water samples can be taken at the moment of a threshold breach rather than the soonest personnel can arrive
  • Potential citizen science to post samples, completely removing the need to send personnel to the site



Enable the quantification of catchment interventions and initiatives.

  • Create currently non-existent datasets
  • Produce real-time overviews of turbidity within a catchment
  • Improve policy and insights into causality relationships




Real-time overview

The dashboard we already provide to customers is available through any internet browser and requires no software to be installed. This allows us to serve information to any device with a web browser and an internet connection.

No administrative privileges or specific hardware is required, the dashboard is simply available to be logged into at any time or location.

This proposal will be built upon FreeUP’s existing capability. The specific layout and information presented will be informed by early-stage users to ensure that the dashboard integrates into workflows as easily as possible.

Data will also be able to be passed directly to third party systems through our API. This will allow others to use real-time data in any system they wish without data collection, transmission or processing logistics.


Remote interaction

We already offer automatic SMS notifications that are triggered when user-set thresholds are exceeded.

We will redirect this threshold technology to trigger water collection in addition to the SMS notification it already sends (if required).

Upon receiving the signal, the physical sensor sitting in the watercourse will sample the water. The water sample will be retained in a container that can be swapped for a new container when personnel visit to pick up the sample.

This will allow for non-diluted, real-time sampling independent of location.

Our aim is for this to support accurate monitoring of possible point pollution sources and allow for laboratory-grade testing triggered by proxy measurements.


With catchment-wide overviews, comparisons between pre and post interventions will be possible. This will allow for the quantification of intervention success, and through testing, enable their iterative improvement.

FreeUP’s existing cloud infrastructure is able to store and process as much data as required, allowing us to support these comparisons independent of the precise form they will take.

Ease of deployment is a key feature we considered in the water sensors’ design. This is to allow them to be deployed by anyone to sites with no existing infrastructure. This ensures that baseline data can be collected at specific areas of interest.


Completed work & partnerships

Reaseheath manages a number of water quality and water management projects on behalf of the Environment Agency, water utilities, and works with a range of stakeholders, to improve water quality and implement interventions and ecosystem services.

We have already demonstrated our dashboard and cloud capabilities via a previous product. Similarly, we have demonstrated our capacity to tailor interfaces to create optimal workflow integrations and to collaborate with organisations in other sectors.

Our in-river sensors have been validated in terms of performance, ease of deployment and construction. These design considerations were critical to allow for future wide-scale deployment and so the creation of real-time catchment overviews.

Upcoming demonstration

Later this year we will have a live demo of our turbidity sensing capabilities running to show that turbidity sensing can be achieved at a greatly reduced price point and that this data can be put online in real-time.

With this demonstration, we will have shown that version 1.0 of our Future of Catchments system is achievable and, by extrapolation, that the full scope of our Future of Catchments is eminently possible.

Further Information


Tom McNamara

Simon Burgess
Reaseheath College

If you want to know more