Water Meter Scavenger Hunt

TxGIS Day, 2022

This year's VGI event will require participants to get close to private property. While all makers are city property, we ask that participants be respectful of home owner's privacy and private property. Only attempt to collect photos of water valves that do not require trespassing onto prvate property.

Please see The City of College Station Water Services Deparment official notice regarding this event and reach out with questions or concerns to their Program Coordinator for assistance.

Jennifer Nations

Water Services Program Coordinator

Phone: (979)-764-6223

Email: jnations@cstx.gov

This year we are yet again bringing hands-on GIS data collection to the masses. In collaboration with the Texas A&M Center for Geospatial Sciences, Applications and Technology (GEOSAT), and the City of College Station we are hosting the Water Meter Scavenger Hunt.

The purpose of the challenge is to locate and categorize public water meters in the vicinity of campus from crowd-sourced photos and surveys submitted by the members and guests of the TAMU community.

Throughout the course of the three-day long GIS Day event(s), any GIS Day participant will be able to submit data in the form of photos and survey responses of public water meters in the vicinity of campus with their own personal cell phones through the Official TxGIS Day Competitions App.

How data collection works:

  • Install the Official TxGIS Day Competitions App on your device.
  • Refer to the Map tab in the competitions app to find rough locations of water meters we are interested in locating.
  • Find a public water meter of interest matching the required criteria (see images below).
  • In the app, find the Submission tab.
  • Take a picture of the water meter with the app.
  • Submit the found water meter, and find some more!

How competition points work:

1 Point
  • 1 point for every submission of a public water meter.
  • Top 3 participants with the highest number of points will be awarded one of the below prizes.

Examples of Valid Public Water Meters

There are several features that may look like a water meter but are not. Please check with the following list of images to verify that the feature is in fact a water meter. Only actual public water meter features will be counted.

Actual Water Meters


In general, public water meters are clearly marked with the lettering "meter" or "water meter", and often have a small access door flaps.

Not a Water Meter


Avoid mistaking sewer cleanouts for meter boxes. Although they do look very simimlar, sewer cleanouts do not have the small door flat that meter boxes do.


Great prizes will be awarded to three winners.

  • 1st Place Prize: $250
  • 2nd Place Prize: $150
  • 3rd Place Prize: $100


While we encourage everyone to download the app and submit data, only current TAMU graduate and undergraduate students are eligible to win.

Rules, Participation, and Winners

In order for a chance to win, participants will be required to have an active GIS Day account. Using the Official TxGIS Day Competitions App, users will take photos of public water meters in the vicinity of the Texas A&M campus. Please refer to the competitions app Map tab to find areas with water meters we are interested in collecting.

Only participant submissions collected during the three days of TxGIS Day and before the Awards Ceremony will be included as eligible submissions (12:01AM Monday - 11:15AM Wednesday). The sponsoring organizations would certainly appreciate the efforts of people who collect data before and after GIS Day, so feel free to start collecting early and continue collecting after, but these submissions will not be considered for an award.

The participant with the highest number of points from verified submissions at the conclusion of the GIS Day event will be awarded 1st place. The next highest number will be awarded 2nd place, and the next 3rd place.

Winners will be announced on Wednesday, November 16 at the AWARDS | GIS Heroes and Competition Winners session.

Participants do not need to be present at the Awards Ceremony in order to be selected as a winner.

Project Information Sheet

Why is this study being done?

The purpose of this study is to leverage the data collection abilities of the 2,500+ TAMU faculty, students, staff, and visitors who participate in the TxGIS Day events per year to gather data about the TAMU campus. Each year, the GIS Day planning committee organizes a GIS Mapping Competition where GIS Day participants gather data (GPS, photos, and other attributes) of amenities and services on campus. You are invited to participate in these data collection efforts!

Why am I being asked to be in the study?

You are being asked to be in this study because you have a relationship with Texas A&M either as a faculty or staff member, a student, or a visitor.

How many people will be asked to be in the study?

The study organizers hope to engage 2,500 study participants per year for each of the four years of the project. We will contact 50,000 people per year (roughly the number all TAMU students, faculty, and staff) in order to achieve these participant numbers for each year of the project.

What are the alternatives to being in this study?

The alternative to being in the study is not to participate. Participation in this study is not mandatory, and non-participation will not impact you in any fashion.

What will I be asked to do in this study?

You will be asked to walk around the TAMU campus and take pictures of buildings. In 2019, you are being asked to take pictures of the exteriors of TAMU structures. In future years, the organizing committee will survey different aspects of the TAMU campus.

Are there are risks to me?

The things that you will be doing will pose no greater risks than the you would come across in everyday life. While collecting data, you will be submitting your location (actually the location of the thing you are collecting about), which could expose the locations that you collected data at, should these data be stolen. Other risks include a breach of confidentiality should study information about you (name, email, TAMU department, and TAMU classification) be stolen.

Will there be any costs to me?

Aside from your time, there are no costs for taking part in the study. Your participation can take any amount of time up to seven days (the full length of the week around GIS Day), but we expect that most people will participate for less than two hours.

Will photos, video, or audio recordings be made of me during this study?

Photos, video, and audio recordings will not be taken of you as part of this study.

Will I be paid to be in the study?

You will not be paid for being in this study, but there will be an award given to at least one of the participants who will be selected at random from all participants who create accounts. Creating an account is not mandatory. You can participate anonymously without creating an account, but in this case you will not be eligible for winning prizes (since we won't know how you are!!).

Will information from this study be kept private?

The records of this study will be kept private. Any personally identifiable information you submit during the course of creating an account will be removed from the data when it is used in publications or presentations. You may choose to submit data anonymously, in which case no identifiable information will be collected from or about you.

Research records will be stored securely in the TAMU West Campus Data Center, and only Dr. Daniel Goldberg, other members of the project team, and TAMU IT data center staff will have access to the records. Representatives of regulatory agencies such as the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) and entities such as the Texas A&M University Human Subjects Protection Program may access your records to make sure the study is being run correctly and that information is collected properly.

What if I change my mind about participating?

This research is voluntary and you have the choice whether or not to be in this research study. You may decide to not begin or to stop participating at any time. If you choose not to be in this study or stop being in the study, there will be no effect on your status, grades, employment, or relationship with Texas A&M University, etc. Any new information discovered about the research will be provided to you. This information could affect your willingness to continue your participation.

Whom may I contact for more information?

You may contact the Principal Investigator, Daniel Goldberg, PhD, to tell him about a concern or complaint about this research at 979-845-6395 or daniel.goldberg@tamu.edu.

For questions about your rights as a research participant; or if you have questions, complaints, or concerns about the research, you may call the Texas A&M University Human Subjects Protection Program office at (979) 458-4067 or irb@tamu.edu.

TAMU IRB Approvals