Proposal

No annual report

Introduction

Proposal ID 2015-101
Submitted April 22, 2015
Owner rdk10
Department Forest Resources, College of
Category Frontier Technology
Funding Status Not Funded
Metric Score 3.01

Contacts

Primary
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Marc Morrison
  • Director IT
  • mmorriso@uw.edu
  • 206-685-7239
  • 352100
Budget
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Wendy Star
  • School Administrator
  • wkstar@uw.edu
  • 206-685-2047
  • 352100
Dean
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Lisa Graumlich
  • Dean of College of the Environment
  • envdean@uw.edu
  • 206-221-0908
  • 355355

Descriptions

Abstract

Students wishing to measure climatic variables in isolated places need the most advanced technology available, yet few students have access to appropriate resources. Wireless climatic measurement systems made by Campbell Scientific are highly modular, can accept a variety of different sensors, and are reliable in the field. The ease of deployment, long battery life, and range of these devices will make novel projects possible for undergraduate to post PhD research, such as in fragmented remote habitats. Moreover, the system components are fully weather sealed providing years of data collection capacity. We propose to order the base components for two wireless data collection systems, one locally networkable and one linked to the internet, and 10 wireless sensors to test their ability to transmit over different distances, through varying vegetation types, and in inclement weather. We will also test the ability to convey data from the field to anywhere in the world over the internet. This system will increase the potential for University of Washington students to conduct remote studies of environmental variability by laying the foundation for an expandable, modular, and robust platform for automated environmental data collection.

Category Justification

The School of Environmental and Forest Science is responsible for training students for careers in wildlife biology, ecological restoration, forest resource management, and climate science. The school must provide students and researchers the most advanced up-to-date technology to better compete in the workforce, but also to better represent the university with cutting-edge research. Students should leave UW with a basic knowledge of the best equipment available and our researches should be relying on the most versatile systems to produce highly relevant science. One example of such research is habitat availability in the relatively unexplored canopy of Douglas-fir forests. We plan to test the requested wireless data collection system in the extremely wet environment of the canopy of a Douglas-fir forest on the Olympic Peninsula and use these results to further inform expansion of the system for other applications. This is an ideal test site because wireless sensor transmission is limited by line-of-sight, thus the dense forest will provide the most challenging conditions likely to be encountered by anyone wishing to use the technology for their own research.

Many environmental monitoring systems must be hard-wired and other self-contained units cannot transmit data to a central location. The advent of wireless technology allows climate data collection where it was previously impossible due to the constraints of older systems. Some examples of previously difficult study locations include across water bodies and roads, and in the forest canopy. Wireless sensors can be easily and discreetly deployed and collect data at 10 minute intervals for upwards of one year unattended and using just two AA batteries. The ability to transmit data to a central location wirelessly negates the need to access individual sensors to download data, thus limiting disruption of the study environment. Furthermore, the sensors can relay signals between each other, extending the distance from central hub location to the furthest sensor to 480m. The system is also capable of being networked over the internet from remote locations to the lab, thus providing real time data collection.

We request the base components for two systems of varying complexity. The simple system is composed of five soil moisture sensors, a central base station with an antenna, and a data storage device called a data logger. This will allow deployment of the sensors in the canopy and wireless data transmission to the ground, but requires the researcher to visit the data logger to acquire data. The more complex system is the same but with the ability to transmit from the data logger to an internet connection via two additional radios. The second system will also require five more sensors and remote power supply via solar panel and sealed batteries.

Identical sensors are currently used in agricultural settings and have recently been applied to a salamander habitat study in a coast redwood forest tree crown. We therefore expect this technology to function well for the proposed application. Even if it does not perform as expected in the canopy, it will be useful equipment for many other students and researchers working in less extreme environments. The system is also easily modified for other types of data collection. One only needs to order a different sensor to plug into the wireless transmitters. The iButton systems acquired in 2013 have had an unacceptable failure rate of more than 30% in the field. To mitigate this risk we have decided to acquire the base package and a limited number of sensors to test the system in a novel environment. Unlike previous sensors, the Campbell Scientific sensors come with a one year warranty as well as a three year warranty for the datalogger, making the equipment easily replaceable in case of failure.

Background

This project fits the frontier technology category because we intend to apply a product that is proven in an agricultural setting in a completely different environment. Product tests will be performed in canopy soils of old-growth Douglas-fir rain forests on the Olympic Peninsula. Given the results of testing the technology, we plan to expand the system by adding new sensors and base system capabilities. For example, the current range of data transmission can be boosted with radio antennas supplied with solar panels at the treetops.

Benefits to Students and the University

Students will benefit from the wireless data acquisition system and associated sensors as follows:
1) Once the technology has proved effective, it will be made available to any student who needs it on a first come first served basis.
2) The equipment will require users to develop specific data management and technological skills (e.g. networking devices and calibrating sensors) that will serve them in future work.
3) Deployment of wireless sensors will facilitate research that may have been impossible otherwise.
4) The system can be readily expanded and adapted for a wide variety of applications.
5) Professors will also be able to use the equipment for their field research and teaching.

The University will benefit from this equipment as follows.
1) This equipment has value added benefits because of its modularity. Future grants will require less funding as only a subset of components need to be added to expand the system’s data collection capabilities.
2) The portability of the instrumentation will allow hands on demonstrations of what UW has to offer new students or collaborating researchers.
3) The technology will be tested in permanent forest plots in Olympic National Park. The framework and trust relationship built during this phase of research will pave the way for future work in this location.
4) The technology will provide a platform for exciting and novel research that will attract new students to UW.

Departmental Endorsements

April 22, 2015

Review Panel
Student Technology Fund University of Washington

Dear Review Panel Members:

I am writing this letter in support of Mr. Russell Kramer’s application for an equipment grant (Frontier Technology) from the Student Technology Fund. I fully support Mr. Kramer’s application both from a School perspective and from my student’s research needs perspective. I believe that this relatively small request will have notable benefits to a variety of students within the School.

Russell and several other graduate students are requesting support to purchase Campbell Scientific wireless climatic sensors (e.g. soil moisture, soil temperature, air temperature, RH, …) that can be installed in a variety of media and in a range of ecosystems. We have purchased inexpensive alternatives in the past (iButtons) and have been disappointed with their poor performance. Students conducting field research in the ecological and natural resource sciences commonly need to monitor climatic variables in remote locations where wire linked data loggers are less than ideal. The devices being requested have long battery life, are weather resistant, and can be remotely networked. Campbell Scientific equipment is known to have high performance and is backed up by a research and development staff that support their equipment.

These wireless sensor systems will greatly improve the ability of our students to conduct field research in remote and climatically challenging locations allowing them to collect real time and continuously logged data on various environmental parameters. I know of numerous students within our school that will benefit from the purchase of these sensors.

As Director of the School and as a professor of soils and ecosystem ecology, I am highly aware of our student’s need for reliable climatic sensor equipment. The purchase of this equipment with funding from STF will go a long ways in helping students in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences to monitor climatic variables as a part of their research in remote locations. I encourage you to fully support this proposal. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this recommendation, please free to call (206-685-1928) or email (deluca@uw.edu). Thanks for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Thomas H. DeLuca Professor and Director

Installation Timeline

Items will be purchased immediately upon approval and funding. Installation of the sensors will take place in June and be monitored until the following March. If tests go well, more sensors will be purchased and installed in the field for their first round of research data collection. After this data collection the system will be made available to any university student or faculty.

Resources Provided by Department

The School of Environmental and Forest Sciences already provides its students with much of the equipment required to conduct field research (e.g., GPS units, receivers, measuring tapes, range finders). The supply of environmental sensors is inadequate for planned field applications. Additional resources provided by STF would greatly improve our program.

The current storage facility is located in Winkenwerder Hall and is maintained by the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. The SEFS IT team will maintain all of the technology and equipment. The grant writer will donate his time for the initial configuration, installation of components into weatherproof boxes, and any additional literature support needed for future students.

Access Restrictions (if any)

None.

Student Endorsements

4/21/2015

Dear STF Committee,

I am writing in support of Russell Kramer’s grant application for the purchase of a wireless measurement system for remote research locations and long-term data collection. The school currently has no comparable technology available to students. Although the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) currently owns soil moisture and temperature data loggers purchased with STF funds in 2013, multiple field trials with these data loggers has proven to yield unreliable results. At least 1/3 of the data loggers buried in soil in field locations are unusable – when collected the data is irretrievable because the battery has failed.

Furthermore, these loggers are not built to withstand the breadth of temperature and moisture fluctuations that is often experienced in field sites and are not covered under a warranty. As part of the Forest Soils group at SEFS, I am interested in using the wireless system made by Campbell Scientific for soil temperature and moisture data at various field sites to reliably record long-term data collection. I completely support the use of STF grant for the purchase of the wireless soil moisture monitoring system that Russell Kramer proposes. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
MELISSA R. PINGREE
PhD Student SEFS, UW

******************************************************************************************************************************************************

April 22, 2015

To whom this may concern:

As a PhD student in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, I strongly endorse the acquisition of the modular climate measurement system proposed herein. As described, using this highly adaptable system in forested ecosystems represents a novel application of an already-proven technology. The ability to continuously collect climate data in remote locations – and in real time – would expand many students’ and researchers’ opportunities to relate high (temporal and spatial) resolution climate data to the ecological dynamics in their study systems. Furthermore, the wireless capabilities of the technology would minimize the time and money costs associated with more traditional climate data collection (e.g., iButtons, HOBOS) that require repeated field visits. Personally, I have aims to assess tree regeneration dynamics in climate microrefugia in mountainous terrain. Without the sort of fine-scaled, continuous climate data that the proposed technology would afford, my ability to test hypotheses regarding constraints on regeneration would not be nearly as strong.

Thank you for your consideration,
Caitlin Littlefield

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************
April 22, 2015

Subject: Need for modular monitoring systems for ecological research

Dear Reviewers,

I am writing this letter in support of Russell Kramer’s grant request Remote Data Collection Using Wireless Technology. The field of ecology has benefited greatly in recent years from the explosion of small, affordable monitoring equipment able to collect and report field measures autonomously. These tools allow for the collection of data over broader spatial scales and at finer temporal resolution that has been previously possible. The efficiencies and power that this type of instrumentation offers is extremely applicable for a variety of research needs within the School of Environmental and Forestry Sciences.

My work focusses on exploring novel approaches to increase ecological resilience in headwater riparian systems. By relocating beavers in these systems, I’m hoping to gain better insight in how these ecosystem engineers can reduce the impacts of climate change through the benefits that they offer. The quality of the data that I am collecting on the effects of beaver relocation on riparian ecosystems could be greatly improved by utilizing the modular monitoring systems that Russell is proposing. I feel that this instrumentation could be an asset to my research and other research in our department. Please consider this proposal.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide this information. If you have any questions, please contact me at (619) 708-5434.

Sincerely,
Benjamin Dittbrenner
Aquatic Ecologist

Dittbrenner Environmental
PhD Student, Forest Ecology
School of Environmental and Forestry Sciences
University of Washington
Box 352100
Seattle, WA 98195-2100
619.708.5434
castor@uw.edu

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************AApril 22, 2015

Dear STF committee,

I strongly urge your consideration of the requested research equipment. Remote data collection derived from forested or rugged sites is often collected using repeated sampling or analog equipment that is dated or lacking the precision required for publication quality work. The equipment proposed in this request will provide a number of graduate students in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences access to precise and high resolution data from field sites for years to come.

In my particular situation, there is a need to collect data from Pack Forest (UW school forest), where a number of field experiments are scattered throughout a 4,300 hectare area. Sensing equipment like this reduces labor and cost of data collection substantially, and can withstand the variable moisture and temperature regimes that are inherent throughout the year. I am a PhD student in the Sustainable Silviculture Lab and among a half dozen other students working on similar research sites; all of which could use this data collection system in some capacity.

Thank you for your consideration,

Matthew M. Aghai, PhD Student
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
University of Washington
aghai@uw.edu
Cell: (847) 644-3414

Items

Group Funded Item Unit price Quantity Subtotal
Local network

Datalogger

$1,056.00 2 $2,112.00
Description

The CR800 is a smaller, research-grade datalogger designed for stand-alone operation in harsh, remote environments. It is intended for smaller configurations in which fewer sensors will be measured. Each CR800 reads input from sensors, then transmits the data via a communication peripheral; most sensors and telecommunication devices are compatible. Multiple CR800s can be configured as a network or units can be deployed individually.

Justification

We need two of dataloggers to test two separate systems, one with a local network to wireless sensors and another for networking over the internet. We anticipate a lot of demand for this system so having two independent systems will allow more students access to this technology.

USB to RS converter

$17.28 1 $17.28
Description

The 17394 is a six-foot interface cable fitted with a USB connector on one end and a 9-pin male RS-232 connector on the other end. The USB connector attaches to the USB port of a PC. The RS-232 connector attaches to the RS-232 port of a datalogger or peripheral, such as an MD485 Multidrop Modem or RF401-series Spread-Spectrum Radio. Alternatively, the RS-232 connector can attach to an SC32B interface, which attaches to the CS I/O port of a datalogger via the SC12 cable.

Justification

This allows the user to program the datalogger and is necessary

12V Power Supply with regulator

$264.00 2 $528.00
Description

The PS150 is a 12 Vdc power supply that includes a rechargeable 7 Ah valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) battery and charging regulator. Charging power for the PS150 is typically supplied by an unregulated solar panel, AC/AC transformer, or AC/DC converter. The PS150 provides charging with temperature compensation for optimal charging and battery life. A maximum power point tracking algorithm is incorporated for solar inputs to maximize available solar charging resources.

Justification

This will provide the datalogger and base station with power for collecting data from wireless sensors

Power supply ac/dc converter cable

$28.00 2 $56.00
Description

The 29796 converts 100 to 240 Vac to a regulated 24 Vdc. The 29796 comes standard with a USA/Canada plug, with an option to add a kit for international use. The cable is 5 ft long and terminates in pigtails with "+" and "-" labels

Justification

Can be used to charge battery if base station (datalogger and sensor base) if placed near traditional power supply.

10W Solar Panel with 20ft cable

$177.60 2 $355.20
Description

The SP10 is a 10-W photovoltaic power sources capable of recharging batteries. Its 6.1 m (20 ft) cable has stripped and tinned leads that connect to the PS150, PS200, CH150, CH200, or battery base of the CRVW3, CR3000, CR5000, CR7, CR9000X, or CR6. The SP10 has a sufficient charging source for many of our system configurations in tropical to temperate latitudes. It allows unattended operation of systems in remote locations, far from AC electrical sources.

Justification

Necessary for charging power supply to datalogger and wireless sensor base

Pelican 1520 case

$209.00 2 $418.00
Description

This chemical-resistant, corrosion-resistant, airtight, watertight, dustproof, crushproof case is light enough to carry onboard most airlines. The Pelican 1520 defends your sensitive equipment against harsh weather conditions, bumps, drops, jolts and shocks. Use the 1520?s 3-piece foam set and/or padded dividers to safely cushion your valuables inside the ultra-high impact structural copolymer shell.

Justification

These are needed to house the datalogger, wireless sensor base, and power supply.

Wireless soil probe with solar panel

$446.40 2 $892.80
Description

Same as the above sensors but with an on board solar panel for charging the internal battery.

Justification

Signals from soil moisture probes can be relayed through each other to the wireless sensor base. This function exerts an extra drain on sensors, so sensors with solar panels were included to test this function.

Sensor to PC interface

$49.92 1 $49.92
Description

The A205 CWS-to-PC Interface supports communication between wireless sensors and a computer. The A205 is necessary for configuring wireless sensors prior to deployment and is also useful for testing and troubleshooting them.

Justification

This allows users to configure individual sensors.

Wireless sensor base

$336.00 2 $672.00
Description

The CWB100 is the master radio in a Campbell Scientific wireless-sensor network. It polls and stores data from up to 50 wireless sensors, and then passes that data to a datalogger. Its internal radio has a 902 to 918 MHz frequency range, which is used in the USA and Canada.

Justification

This is the critical component of the system that allow data from individual sensors to be amalgamated and stored on the datalogger.

Datalogger Antennae

$149.00 2 $298.00
Description

The 14221 is a 3 dBd omnidirectional antenna for use with many of our spread-spectrum products. The 14221 is suitable for base station use where you need to communicate with multiple stations located in different directions. It is also preferred in mobile applications and in other applications in which the best radio path is not constant, including close-up applications without clear line-of-sight.

Justification

This is a stronger antennae necessary so wireless sensors will be able to communicate with the wireless sensor base and datalogger.

Antenna cable

$51.67 2 $103.34
Description

Antenna Cable LMR195 w/Reverse Polarity SMA & Type N Male Connector 5ft per antenna cable

Justification

This connects the antenna to the wireless sensor base and allows flexibility in placement for maximum reception.

Black cold shrink tape

$6.72 2 $13.44
Description

10ft long, 1in wide shrink tape.

Justification

This is used to waterproof and solidify connections between system components.

Datalogger support software

$576.00 1 $576.00
Description

LoggerNet is our main datalogger support software package. It supports programming, communication, and data retrieval between dataloggers and a PC.

LoggerNet consists of a server application and several client applications integrated into a single product. It can support connection to a single datalogger, but it is especially adept in applications that require telecommunications or scheduled data retrieval used in large datalogger networks.

Version 4 is our most recent major upgrade to LoggerNet that features a new tool for designing and configuring PakBus® networks, a more powerful file viewer, an upgrade to RTMC, a redesigned toolbar, and many updates to existing clients. Learn more about the upgrade in the brochure and manual linked in the Related Documents section on this page.

Justification

Necessary for configuring datalogger

Datalogger programming

$520.00 1 $520.00
Description

Custom datalogger programming

Justification

Datalogger needs to be programmed and optimized for peak performance by Campbell Scientific. While this can be done be students it is highly advantageous to have it done be a professional.

Universal wireless transmitter

$500.00 2 $1,000.00
Description

The CWS900 allows a sensor with a special connector to be used in a wireless sensor network; the special connector is available as an option for a large variety of sensors. (See the Compatibility tab.)

The CWS900 contains an internal 900 MHz spread-spectrum radio that transmits data to the CWB100 Wireless Base Station or to another wireless sensor. The frequency of the CWS900's internal radio is commonly used in the US and Canada.

Justification

These are the basis for a more versatile data collection system because they are compatible with many different sensor types.

Universal wireless transmitter with solar

$550.00 2 $1,100.00
Description

The CWS900 allows a sensor with a special connector to be used in a wireless sensor network; the special connector is available as an option for a large variety of sensors. (See the Compatibility tab.)

The CWS900 contains an internal 900 MHz spread-spectrum radio that transmits data to the CWB100 Wireless Base Station or to another wireless sensor. The frequency of the CWS900's internal radio is commonly used in the US and Canada.

Justification

This is the same as the universal transmitter but can be recharged with a small on-board solar panel. These are useful for sensors that are more power demanding or for relaying signals from many different sensors.

Sensors

Wireless soil water and temp probes

$422.40 8 $3,379.20
Description

The CWS655 is a wireless version of our CS655 soil water reflectometer. It has 12 cm rods and monitors soil volumetric water content, bulk electrical conductivity, and temperature. This reflectometer has an internal 900 MHz spread-spectrum radio that transmits data to a CWB100 Wireless Base Station or to another wireless sensor. The internal radio's frequency is commonly used in the US and Canada.

Justification

These are one of many available sensors. We are choosing to start mainly with soil moisture for testing and then move to other environmental variables in future grants.

Wind speed and direction station

$827.00 2 $1,654.00
Description

The 034B, manufactured by Met One, combines a 3-cup anemometer and vane into a single integrated package to measure wind speed and direction. It is cabled for use with our dataloggers, and can provide measurements for a variety of applications.

The "-L" on a product model indicates that the cable length is specified at the time of order.

Justification

This is another sensor we want to test using both systems, so we are ordering two of them. They will be deployed at different canopy levels. Price includes sensors (wind speed and direction), cable, and connectors necessary for attaching to wireless transmitter.

Temp/Relative humidity sensors

$494.00 2 $988.00
Description

The HMP60, manufactured by Vaisala, probe measures temperature for the range of -40° to 60°C, and relative humidity for the range of 0 to 100% RH. It is suitable for long-term, unattended monitoring, and is compatible with all Campbell Scientific dataloggers. These are mounted in a 6 plate aspirated solar shield.

Justification

These measure key environmental variable and will be tested using both systems, therefore we are asking for two of them. In the future the system sill be expanded to include more. The price includes sensor, cable, connector for wireless transmitter and direct solar heat shield.

Extended network

Network link interface

$279.00 1 $279.00
Description

The NL201 is a serial-to-Ethernet interface that provides a wired Ethernet network connection to dataloggers, peripherals, and other serial devices. The NL201 supports sophisticated networking capabilities for PakBus devices and networks. Using a unique technique to bridge the Ethernet and CS I/O ports, the NL201 can provide direct access to the integrated IP functionality of some Campbell Scientific dataloggers. The NL201 can also act as a standard TCP serial server, serial client, Modbus TCP/IP gateway, and TLS proxy server for HTTPS and user-defined-port communication.

Justification

This allows us to test the ability to send remote data from the field to the lab by interfacing between a long range radio receiver and an ethernet connection.

Wall charger

$17.28 2 $34.56
Description

The 15966 is a charger used with the SC532A, RF401-series radios, RF450 radio, or MD485

Justification

These are used to power the radios that will transmit data from the field site to the internet interface site.

Spread spectrum radio

$447.00 2 $894.00
Description

The RF401A is a 900 MHz radio designed for license-free use in several countries, including the United States and Canada. It provides a hassle-free way to create long-distance wireless links between your computer, dataloggers, and measurement devices. The RF401A has a 910 to 918 MHz operating-frequency range and a configurable transmit-power output of 5 to 250 mW.

The RF401A is compatible with all of its RF400-series radio predecessors, including the RF400, RF401, and RF430. This also means that it is compatible with the CR205, CR206(X), and AVW206.

The RF401-series and RF430-series spread-spectrum radios are similar. The models in these two series differ in their ports used for connecting to computers/dataloggers, in their frequencies, and in their transmitting power. Refer to the following table for specifics.

Justification

These radios will boost the wireless signal from the field sensors and transmit them to the internet interface site. One radio is installed at each end of this connection.

Yagi Antenna

$139.20 2 $278.40
Description

The 14201 is a high-gain (9 dBd), directional (Yagi) antenna. It is useful for making RF links over longer distances in one direction. This antenna is typically used with sub-315 mW radios such as the RF401A. The 14201 requires an antenna cable to connect it to the spread-spectrum transceiver. (See Compatibility tab for cable options.)

Justification

These are necessary to transmit the data signal over long distances.

Cable for Yagi Antenna

$51.00 2 $102.00
Description

Antenna Cable LMR195 w/Reverse Polarity SMA & Type N Male Connector 1ft per antenna cable

Justification

This is needed to place the cable a reasonable distance from the radio location to obtain maximum reception.

Pelican 1450 case

$164.00 1 $164.00
Description

The Pelican 1500 features an ultra-high impact structural copolymer shell to keep the elements safely out. Inside, use the Pick N? Pluck foam set and/or padded dividers for easy interior customization. When your protection needs include airtight, watertight, dustproof, crushproof and easy-carry, the Pelican 1500 case is a formidable choice.

Justification

This will be used to house the wireless interface components.

Other

Tax, shipping, contingencies

$3,800.00 1 $3,800.00
Description

This was calculated as 20% of the estimated cost of the equipment of $19,000.

Justification

This is the amount needed to cover tax, shipping, and unexpected expenses incurred in case extra parts have to be added.

Total requested: $20,285.14

Total funded: $0.00

Comments

I will be able to provide another letter of faculty support during the oral presentation.

rdk10 — April 23, 2015 @ 4:45 p.m.

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