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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Agricultural Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #209517

Title: Remote sensing and control of irrigation system using a distributed wireless sensor network

item Kim, James
item Evans, Robert
item Iversen, William - Bill

Submitted to: IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/8/2007
Publication Date: 5/30/2008
Citation: Kim, Y., Evans, R.G., Iversen, W.M. 2008. Remote sensing and control of irrigation system using a distributed wireless sensor network. IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement.57(7):1379-1387.

Interpretive Summary: This study developed the machine conversion from a conventional irrigation system to an electronically-controllable system for individual control of irrigation sprinklers and formulated the navigation of the irrigation system that was continuously monitored by a differential GPS and wirelessly transferred data to a base station for site-specific irrigation control. This study also provided extensive details for the wireless communication interface of sensors from in-field sensor stations, and for a programmable logic controller from a control station to a base station. Bluetooth wireless technology used in this study offered a plug-and-play communication module and saved significant time and expense by using commercially available sensors and controllers equipped with serial communication ports. The development of wireless in-field sensing and control software provided real-time remote monitoring and control of variable rate irrigation. This study proved a concept of a promising low-cost wireless solution for an in-field wireless sensor network and remote control of precision irrigation.

Technical Abstract: Distributed in-field sensor-based irrigation systems offer the potential to support site-specific irrigation management that allows producers to maximize their productivity while saving water. However, the seamless integration of sensor fusion, data interface, software design, and communications for site-specific irrigation control using wireless sensor-based irrigation systems can be challenging. This paper describes details of the design and instrumentation of variable rate irrigation, a wireless sensor network, and software for real-time in-field sensing and control of a site-specific, precision linear move irrigation system. Field conditions were monitored site-specifically by six in-field sensor stations distributed across the field based on a soil property map. Each of the five sensor stations measured soil moisture, soil temperature, and air temperature, while one weather station recorded microclimatic information. In-field data were periodically sampled and transmitted to a base station via Bluetooth radio communication. Variable rate irrigation was controlled by the base computer that received the geo-referenced location of sprinklers from a differential global positioning system and wirelessly transmitted individual control signals to 30 sprinkler nozzle banks. Graphic user interface-based software was developed to monitor and control in-field sensing stations and an irrigation control station.