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Environments 2017, 4(3), 47;

Development of ICT for Leaching Monitoring in Taiwan Agricultural LTER Stations

Taiwan Agriculture Research Institute, Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, Taichung 41362, Taiwan
Yanchao District Office, Kaoshiung City Government, Kaohsiung 82446, Taiwan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 13 June 2017 / Accepted: 27 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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In order to study the groundwater subsidy from different cropping systems, leaching monitoring in Taiwan started in 2008 and implemented agricultural long-term ecological research (LTER) stations. Initially, leaching data was received by lysimeters, and then collected manually by laborers in the field twice per month. The cost of data collection and transmission is high, real-time monitoring is not possible, and maintenance of instruments is inefficient. In this study, the goal is to develop a data transmission path. ICT (Information and Communication Technology) with different data transmission schemes was applied to improve the efficiency and immediacy of data transfer from the field to the databases in labs. Between 2010 and 2017, four versions of ICT have been developed and applied in LTER stations. WiFi, 2.5G (General Packet Radio Service, GPRS), 3G/4G network transmission, and Arduino cores are applied in different ICT versions. The first version of data transmission used data loggers, developed by the original factory, with a lower cost of renovation of instruments. However, complicated transmission paths, diverse instruments, poor weather resistance, and lack of wireless functionality are the limitations of the first version. Those limitations had been overcome by the second and third versions by using 2.5G (GPRS) and 3G/4G network transmission, respectively. Nevertheless, these versions are limited to the processes of data compression and encryption transmission which were developed by the system vendors. In addition, data can only be collected through the webpage provided by the vendors, instead of being received directly from the database using SQL (Structured Query Language). This is inappropriate for advanced data treatment, organization, and analysis. Finally, the fourth version of data transmission has been developed using Arduino. This system allows redesigning of the data loggers and transmission instrument with more feasibility and flexibility. Radio Frequency (Radio frequency, RF) has been imported into the transmission path to receive data from diverse instruments with fewer data loggers. In conclusion, ICT technological advancement with its advantages of reasonable cost and high flexibility and feasibility, Arduino and other open source operation systems can be used to develop the data loggers and related instruments to meet the needs of users. Therefore, ICT is the most appropriate strategy to develop the long-term monitoring system in the field and to apply to other environment monitoring systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: lysimeter; data loggers; data transmission; Arduino; real-time monitoring; database; open source lysimeter; data loggers; data transmission; Arduino; real-time monitoring; database; open source

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Chan, Y.; Hu, J.; Chou, C.; Liao, C.; Chen, C. Development of ICT for Leaching Monitoring in Taiwan Agricultural LTER Stations. Environments 2017, 4, 47.

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