Canadian Forest Service Publications
Automated environmental monitoring and database management: Fantasies and realities. 1999. Benton, R.A.; Pettersen, K.M. The Forestry Chronicle 75(3): 483-486.
Available from: Pacific Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 5242
Modern dataloggers and the ever-increasing number of sensors can measure a wide range of environmental parameters, from air temperature and relative humidity through energy flux density, in minute detail and summarize the data for you at any interval your research requires. The cost of collecting environmental data using automated data recorders and their associated sensors continues to drop with advancements in microprocessor development. The value of the data collected by these systems is largely determined by decisions regarding overall project and individual study component design. The utility and versatility of the information collected is a function of the planning performed at the beginning of the research program. The initial design of the monitoring system and the database produced by the system will determine whether or not the data may be useful for other work being conducted on site or nearby. The expected and actual functionality of the database produced can be quite different depending on the resources applied to the monitoring system during initial setup and with ongoing maintenance. This paper incorporates the experiences gained from three long-term research programs involving extensive automated environmental monitoring networks, the problems encountered, the success stories, and the lessons learned. Suggestions and considerations for system design and database management are proposed.