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The City of Cincinnati's Municipal Sewer District (MSD) worked with the Civic Garden Center (CGC) to fund a research into monitoring storm water runoff. The CGC converted their parking lot into a research area to test the permeability of different paver types. Each pavement type had an identical foundation of concrete and gravel, was separated using liner and fitted with a manhole at the bottom of their slopes. These collection pits were outfitted with sensors to monitor water runoff flow rates.

BigSense and LtSense were developed to help monitor and store data from the research area. It was an open source initiative originally developed by students and volunteers affiliated with the University of Cincinnati's Geography Department.