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J. Sens. Actuator Netw. 2013, 2(3), 388-408; doi:10.3390/jsan2030388

Prototyping an Operational System with Multiple Sensors for Pasture Monitoring

1,* , 2
1 Ecosystem Sciences, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), PMB 2, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia 2 Animal, Health, and Food Sciences, CSIRO, PMB 5, Floreat, WA 6014, Australia 3 Environmental Information Services, Bureau of Meteorology, GPO Box 2334, Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia 4 Ecosystem Sciences, CSIRO, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia 5 CSIRO Information & Communication Technology Centre, P.O. Box 883, Kenmore, QLD 4069, Australia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 April 2013 / Revised: 13 June 2013 / Accepted: 16 June 2013 / Published: 1 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
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Combining multiple proximal sensors within a wireless sensor network (WSN) enhances our capacity to monitor vegetation, compared to using a single sensor or non-networked setup. Data from sensors with different spatial and temporal characteristics can provide complementary information. For example, point-based sensors such as multispectral sensors which monitor at high temporal frequency but, at a single point, can be complemented by array-based sensors such as digital cameras which have greater spatial resolution but may only gather data at infrequent intervals. In this article we describe the successful deployment of a prototype system for using multiple proximal sensors (multispectral sensors and digital cameras) for monitoring pastures. We show that there are many technical issues involved in such a deployment, and we share insights relevant for other researchers who may consider using WSNs for an operational deployment for pasture monitoring under often difficult environmental conditions. Although the sensors and infrastructure are important, we found that other issues arise and that an end-to-end workflow is an essential part of effectively capturing, processing and managing the data from a WSN. Our deployment highlights the importance of testing and ongoing monitoring of the entire workflow to ensure the quality of data captured. We demonstrate that the combination of different sensors enhances our ability to identify sensor problems necessary to collect accurate data for pasture monitoring.
Keywords: automated sensor networks; digital photography; pasture monitoring; multispectral sensors; proximal sensing automated sensor networks; digital photography; pasture monitoring; multispectral sensors; proximal sensing
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Gobbett, D.L.; Handcock, R.N.; Zerger, A.; Crossman, C.; Valencia, P.; Wark, T.; Davies, M. Prototyping an Operational System with Multiple Sensors for Pasture Monitoring. J. Sens. Actuator Netw. 2013, 2, 388-408.

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