Development of environmental monitoring system with wireless sensor networks
Ghobakhlou, A; Zandi, S; Sallis, P
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Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) technology is becoming increasingly popular, particularly as applied to a variety of monitoring and tracking applications. Recent developments and advances in both information processing and wireless sensor technologies have provided environmental management systems with capabilities of real-time remote location monitoring. WSN enables monitoring and management of a large set of environmental data including climatic, atmospheric, plant and soil parameters that influence cropland growing environments. Real-time sensor data collection is used for accurate illustrations of current conditions while forecasting future conditions and risks. The real time information from the fields can provide a solid base for farmers to adjust strategies at any time. Instead of making decisions based in some hypothetical average condition, which may not exist anywhere in the reality, a precision farming approach recognizes differences and adjusts management actions accordingly. Modular architecture minimises the software upgrade down time and enables hardware reusability. If any firmware upgrade required, preassembled and pre-programmed microcontroller module can be sent to the end user. Recent developments and advances in wireless technology as well as affordability give rise to this emerging field in the realm of precision farming. WSN can operate in a wide range of environments and provide advantages in cost, size, power, flexibility and distributed intelligence, compared to wired ones. Recent advances in wireless sensor networking technology have led to the development of low cost, low power, multifunctional sensor nodes. Sensor nodes enable environment sensing together with data processing. This paper describes a framework for using WSN and a dynamic web application designed to monitor changes in environmental conditions (especially microclimates) using in-field sensor data collected from vineyards. The monitoring is part of a larger proposed system including hardware and software designed to collect field data in harsh terrain conditions. A database management system with associated software performs data analysis and visualisation of data received from various monitoring stations in five countries. It has the capability to compare and analyse data from different sensor nodes, different sensors within the same sensor node and selected sensors. Data is successfully received from the deployment sites and has the capability of real-time streaming and analysis via internet browsers.