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

Villalba, German and Plaza, Fernando and Zhong, Xiaoyang and Davis, Tyler and Navarro, Miguel and Li, Yimei and Slater, Thomas and Liang, Yao and Liang, Xu (2017) A Networked Sensor System for the Analysis of Plot-Scale Hydrology. Sensors, 17 (3). ISSN 1424-8220

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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.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Villalba, Germangev5@pitt.edugev0000-0001-6808-6558
Plaza, Fernandofjp9@pitt.edufjp90000-0003-3126-7931
Zhong, Xiaoyang
Davis, Tyler
Navarro, Miguel
Li, Yimei
Slater, Thomas
Liang, Yao
Liang, Xuxuliang@pitt.eduxuliang
Date: 20 March 2017
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Sensors
Volume: 17
Number: 3
Publisher: MDPI AG
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.3390/s17030636
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Civil and Environmental Engineering
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: wireless sensor network; outdoor deployment; environment sensors; soil moisture; soil water potential; sap flow; MPS-2 sensor; TelosB mote; sensor board
ISSN: 1424-8220
Official URL:
Funders: U.S. National Science Foundation
Article Type: Research Article
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2021 18:14
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2021 18:14


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