|Evett, Steven - Steve|
|REBERG, CHRIS - North Carolina State University|
Submitted to: Agrosystems, Geosciences & Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/17/2021
Publication Date: 10/30/2021
Citation: Thompson, A.I., Schomberg, H.H., Evett, S.R., Fisher, D.K., Mirsky, S.B., Reberg, C. 2021. Gateway-node wireless data collection system for environmental sensing. Agrosystems, Geosciences & Environment. https://doi.org/10.1002/agg2.20219.
Interpretive Summary: Soil water content, air temperature, rainfall and other environmental data are essential for interpreting crop responses to research treatments like cover crops, tillage, or nutrients. Deploying data logging systems can cost more than $3,000 per location which becomes cost prohibitive for research at multiple on-farm sites. Advances in open-source microcontroller (MC) technologies provide the possibility of developing low-cost data collection systems. We used the ARDUINO®-MC platform to build and test a gateway-node data logging system for an on-farm research project. The final cost of our system was less than half of a comparable commercial system. Our paper describes the design, testing, and use of the system during two field seasons including successes and failures experienced and improvements that occurred along the way. We provide links to hardware design files, firmware repositories, and details sufficient for anyone to modify and build their own system. Our low-cost system provides a way for researchers to economically collect environmental data needed when interpreting results from field experiments distributed across multiple locations.
Technical Abstract: Advances in open-source microcontroller (MC) technologies have created opportunities for development of low-cost real-time environmental data collection systems. We developed a system based on the ARDUINO®-MC using a gateway-node architecture for an on-farm research project. Environmental sensor data collected by nodes are transferred to the gateway via LoRa® radio transceivers. Originally, data from the gateway was collected via a Bluetooth® or direct connection to a PC, which required users to travel to the gateway. To reduce travel, a cellular connection to a cloud server replaced the Bluetooth® function, enabling near real-time access to data for researchers and technicians. Approximated cost of field deployed nodes was $100 while gateways were $100 without or $200 with the cellular module. This paper describes the design, testing, and use of the system during two field seasons. Successes and failures experienced and improvements that occurred along the way are described. Links to hardware design files, firmware repositories, and details sufficient for anyone to modify and build their own system are provided. This system provides a basis for researchers to economically collect environmental data from remote locations.