Wide Sense Platform

The Wide Sense Sensor Network was designed in 2011 by our CeTRI research team. We wanted to build a sensor network that was modular and in which a wide range of sensors can be added. The result is a networked range of sensors that is easily configured, as and when the need arises, and could be deployed either indoors or outdoors. This would make it highly economic and efficient. To date, the following sensors have been integrated into the network:

  • A GPS sensor to provide geo-location data ,
  • Air Humidity, Air Temperature, and Air pressure,
  • Solar Irradiation (light levels),
  • Ultraviolet Index,
  • Wind Speed, Wind Direction,
  • Soil Moisture and Temperature (various sensors),
  • pH, conductivity,
  • dissolved oxygen (waterways),
  • turbidity,
  • oxidation-reduction potential,
  • ammonia,
  • CO2, methane, propane,
  • Power use,
  • Water use.

A single sensor module can carry at most thirteen sensors. Sensor networks are arranged as a star-based topology, with at the most, 35 sensor modules in the network. The data for each network is transmitted via http protocols on a cellular network. This means that there are at most, 390 sensors available in each network.

This enormous number of sensors (which can broadcast data from a few seconds apart to hours/days apart) means that we also invested in a robust online data management environment. In terms of data stability, data not received by the database is reported to support personnel, who endeavor to correct the situation as soon as possible.

The volume of data also means that it is not easy to analyse with normal methods, and we have catered for this level of data by making use of good database work, and good visualization tools, such as Tableau.

To date, a number of projects have been undertaken using this platform technology, including an analysis of the impact on learning of indoor environmental conditions on secondary school students, monitoring the micro climate conditions in Kiwifruit orchards.