Thursday, 13 July 2006

Ground Monitoring Network of Soil Agrophysical Properties.

Wojciech Skierucha, Ryszard Walczak, and Andrzej Wilczek. Institute of Agrophysics, Doswiadczalna 4, Lublin, Poland

Monitoring tools for application in agrophysics increase in number, accuracy and accessibility following the general technical progress. The development of miniature and low power consumption smart sensors and smart sensor networks, which can be accessed globally by wireless way, reflects the current progress in research and application areas. The objective of the presentation is to show new instrumentation for monitoring soil environment that has been recently developed in the Institute of Agrophysics Polish Academy of Sciences. It includes an upgraded version of time domain reflectometry handheld as well as multiplexed meters for soil moisture, electrical conductivity and temperature measurement. The devices can be also enhanced with Global Positioning System facilities for application in precision agriculture. The presented data logger for collecting soil physico-chemical parameters represents modern trends in the development of measurement systems. It is characterized by low power consumption, high capacity of storage memory and availability of numerous interfaces for connection of various sensors and accessory equipment. Traditional sensors and measurement devices, such as soil thermometers, reflectometric soil moisture meters, soil tensiometers for water potential measurement, rain-gauges and others may be easily equipped with not expensive, intelligent communication interfaces enabling identification, addressing as well as hardware and software compatibility with the data logger. The system communicates with the installed sensors by wired Internet connection and also wireless GPRS modems or radio link working in ISM frequency bands in cases when the access to the monitored objects is limited. The modular design of the system enables future modifications in accordance with the advances in metrology of non-electrical quantities and the general technological development. The presentation discusses the application examples of the developed instrumentation: in field conditions for collection of site specific soil parameters, as the reference points for verification and validation of satellite images, especially connected with SMOS (Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity) mission, in the laboratory for collecting soil dynamic characteristics as the input for models. The presented developments have been tested in field conditions in harsh environment as multi-node systems covering a large area and controlled from a remote PC compatible computer communicating with the addressed sensors both by Internet and radio link. The test results and the performance of the system are evaluated in the study.

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