Reading teststrips

What the results say…

Still in progress! Keep an eye out for updates.

We are studying how we can ‘read’ teststrips for chlorine, pH, alkalinity We are studying how we can ‘read’ teststrips for chlorine, pH, alkalinity and hardness using machine learning to help improve the accuracy of citizen monitoring. We’re looking to test our algorithm with your photos. We need your help!

To be able to take photos of your teststrips, you need to edit your observation form to add this option. Once you’ve logged in to the platform, go to your profile and click “Edit account”. Watch the video below to see exactly how to add the test strip reading option to your observation form.

Quickstart video

Once you’ve added the option to take photos of our teststrips to your observation form, you’ll be able to see it as an option on you computer as well as our mobile app. Simply place your wet teststrip on the reference card that came in your testkit, center the card within the white frame that appears on your phone screen and take the photo. Watch the video below to see how you can easily add a teststrip photo to your observations!

Tips and tricks

  • The reference card is light, it can easily fly away so don’t use it if it’s very windy outside
  • Make sure that your fingers aren’t covering the teststrip or the colour dots on the reference card
  • Always write your own reading of the parameters measured by the teststrips even if you’re using this feature because we’re still working on making it more accurate


This area will become an area where we will answer common questions we receive about this study. If you have any questions, please email

How will the test strips be interpreted?

Last year, we used volunteers’ photos to train our artificial intelligence algorithm. This year, we’re launching it as a new feature in our app and we need you to help us find bugs and test how accurate it is. So, for this study, you will be using your own vision to interpret colours. The app will then interpret your photo and give you ‘correct’ readings.

What about the QR Code (that black/white square) at the top of the card?

This is for a feature we want to build in the future. Please ignore this for now.

How long does it take to test and record data?

Most people take between 5-10 minutes per week.

[The testkit] gave me an opportunity to explore lakes and creeks in a way that I was never able to before. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of getting involved to help protect the environment, and it was really interesting to learn about the chemistry and health of different water bodies. It is an incredible feeling to know that you’re contributing to protecting water. We had some really great moments together learning about the nature we both love. I cannot wait to learn more.

Julie Lachapelle, testkit user since 2017