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Sensors 2017, 17(3), 636;

A Networked Sensor System for the Analysis of Plot-Scale Hydrology

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, 3700 O’Hara Street, 728 Benedum Engineering Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
Department of Computer and Information Science, Indiana University Purdue University, 723 West Michigan Street, SL 280, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
Currently at USDA-ARS, Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health, 538 Tower Road, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Current address: Pure Storage, 650 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA 94041, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Russell Binions
Received: 18 November 2016 / Revised: 6 March 2017 / Accepted: 10 March 2017 / Published: 20 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Environmental Monitoring 2016)
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This study presents the latest updates to the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania (ASWP) testbed, a $50,000 USD, 104-node outdoor multi-hop wireless sensor network (WSN). The network collects environmental data from over 240 sensors, including the EC-5, MPS-1 and MPS-2 soil moisture and soil water potential sensors and self-made sap flow sensors, across a heterogeneous deployment comprised of MICAz, IRIS and TelosB wireless motes. A low-cost sensor board and software driver was developed for communicating with the analog and digital sensors. Innovative techniques (e.g., balanced energy efficient routing and heterogeneous over-the-air mote reprogramming) maintained high success rates (>96%) and enabled effective software updating, throughout the large-scale heterogeneous WSN. The edaphic properties monitored by the network showed strong agreement with data logger measurements and were fitted to pedotransfer functions for estimating local soil hydraulic properties. Furthermore, sap flow measurements, scaled to tree stand transpiration, were found to be at or below potential evapotranspiration estimates. While outdoor WSNs still present numerous challenges, the ASWP testbed proves to be an effective and (relatively) low-cost environmental monitoring solution and represents a step towards developing a platform for monitoring and quantifying statistically relevant environmental parameters from large-scale network deployments. View Full-Text
Keywords: wireless sensor network; outdoor deployment; environment sensors; soil moisture; soil water potential; sap flow; MPS-2 sensor; TelosB mote; sensor board wireless sensor network; outdoor deployment; environment sensors; soil moisture; soil water potential; sap flow; MPS-2 sensor; TelosB mote; sensor board

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Villalba, G.; Plaza, F.; Zhong, X.; Davis, T.W.; Navarro, M.; Li, Y.; Slater, T.A.; Liang, Y.; Liang, X. A Networked Sensor System for the Analysis of Plot-Scale Hydrology. Sensors 2017, 17, 636.

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