Sensor Site and Platform Selection

From Federation of Earth Science Information Partners
Revision as of 08:24, November 14, 2012 by Griesc (talk | contribs)

back to EnviroSensing Cluster main page

When planning new instrumented research experiments, careful thought should go into the sensor, site, and platform selection. Here, we list several considerations.

  • Experimental/project design
    • how do the site and platform fit in with the design?
  • Site accessibility
    • physical access (e.g., by hiking, 4x4, boat)
    • permission/permits (e.g., private vs. public vs. federal lands)
    • is there 24x7x365 access?
    • getting equipment to the site for project construction?
    • enabeling access without impact on environment
  • Environmental considerations
    • topography
    • vegetation
    • visibility
    • weather (e.g., how to deal with extreme temperatures, tropical storms, lightning, snow, uv, rust, wind, lightning, salt water and crystalization,)
    • wildlife (e.g., using conduit or fencing, bird specific issues, soil invertebrates)
    • interference of structure on measurement
  • Security
    • protection from vandalism
    • security of the platform (data loggers, buoys)
  • Power
    • photovoltaic systems (e.g., solar panels, batteries)
    • wind
    • sizing power systems (e.g., power calculation spreadsheets, sun charts)
  • Communication
    • datalogger-to-sensor communication (e.g., will wiring need conduit or burial?)
    • telemetry (e.g., line-of-sight needed for WiFi connections)
  • Platforms
    • terrestrial sites (e.g., tripod, tower, pole, tree, tram, kite, uav, below-ground surface, on-ground surface)
    • freshwater stream sites
    • freshwater lake sites (e.g., buoy, raft)
      • Mooring anchors: Iron has the highest density, concrete has a lot less. Concrete filled with scrap iron works well
      • Anchor line considerations: Length depends on water level changes, wind and wave action, other boater and angler traffic on lake. Adding a length of heavy chain adds to flexibility and keeping the buoy in place. Three line moorings should not spin: rotation simply moves the maximum tension from one line to the next. Similarly for two line moorings which are useful in tidal channels where you can anticipate the stress directions. Swivels are necessary on single line moorings or the rotational energy goes into the line with non-optimal results, e.g. shortening of the line, lateral stress on connectors, increased stress on individual strands, etc. Wherever rope meets metal, be it the anchor or an attached chain, use a metal eyelets so that the knotted rope loop goes around the eyelet and you end up with metal eyelet against the metal chain link or anchor.
    • marine sites (e.g., buoy, tower, rugged containers)
    • other (e.g., satellite, airplane)
  • Dataloggers
    • vendors (e.g., campbell, onset)
    • software (e.g., loggernet)
    • wiring diagrams
  • Sensors
    • precision and accuracy
    • power requirements
    • sampling frequency
    • deployment
    • maintenance (e.g., calibration frequency, removal of bird poop)
    • reliability
    • robustness
    • communications (e.g., datalogger compatibility)
    • dependence on other sensors (e.g., Vaisala CO2 sensors depend on barometric pressure and temperature)
    • wiring (e.g., max distances, extending sensors)
    • labeling
    • vendor support
  • Budget
    •