My team and I have been measuring concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 particulates near frac sand mines in small Wisconsin towns. We are using multiple pieces of equipment to conduct this research, including the Mobius ActionCam from Public Lab.
I have been using the Mobius Actioncam in this research to try and capture blasting events that occur at the mines in order to measure the opacity of the air immediately after blasts. These blasts are used to break apart the sand to make mining processes easier, but can also disperse high levels of particulates into the air. These particulates can travel long distances and can have adverse health effects on nearby populations, especially to the elderly, youth, and people with pre-existing breathing problems or complications. Additionally, I have been using the camera to try and record sand truck traffic near loading stations. These photos can aid in explaining data produced by Dichot air samplers. I have yet to record a blasting event, but the traffic photos that i have collected have help explain why particulate levels are higher some days (more truck traffic).
As i have become more familiar with the camera, i have tried out different settings such as various lenses angles, different time intervals, etc. I noticed that there is a motion sense setting that can be used on the camera, so i'm wondering if anybody has had luck with this setting, or has any advice regarding it. My goal would be to be able to record each blasting event, as well as collect more data regarding traffic. Are there other settings that may be beneficial to this aspect of research as well?
There has also been a problem of morning dew or condensation on the camera lense which makes the photos blurry. The camera has a protective pastic case to put on when being deployed in the field that comes with a lenses cover. Is this cover critical to have on, or could removing it help? I have also considered building a small housing for the camera.
I have always loved nature and working outdoors, and have always grown up in the midwest. Silica sand mining is a huge industry in Wisconsin, but often times the people that suffer adverse effects from the mining of sand have nothing to do with the industry at all. I believe my research is important because not enough time has elapsed from the start of the mining processes to determine chronic health effects. I often think of how asbestos was used in construction and deemed safe to use, but as time and research progressed, the chronic effects became more prevalent. I want to help ensure people living near these mines and industrial locations are not exposed to dangerous levels of particulates.