Tools for Dynamic Deployment and Data Management
CENS researchers are developing flexible wireless sensing technologies that can be used in a variety of scientific and social applications. These technologies produce data that often have value to both the immediate research questions and to longer-term studies of longitudinal phenomena. CENS sensing systems are being deployed in many different real-world settings. Managing sensor deployments and the resulting data can be difficult. This poster outlines our work in developing tools to help CENS researchers conduct deployments and manage the resulting data, specifically the CENS Deployment Center, Sensorbase, and the deployment webpages created for the Seismic Deployment in Peru. The CENS Deployment Center (CENSDC) is a web-based repository for CENS deployment information. The CENSDC provides a central location for researchers to document deployment activities through the creation of pre-deployment plans and post-deployment feedback/notes. By allowing users to describe their deployment experiences, including lessons learned, troubleshooting techniques, and guidance for future deployments, the CENSDC attempts to capture the tacit knowledge about equipment setups, deployment locations, and field preparations that play a critical role in data collection techniques. Sensorbase is a database for CENS sensor collected data. Users can set up automated data uploads into Sensorbase from remote wifi enabled nodes deployed in the field, enabling researchers to monitor and manage their data remotely. Sensorbase can also generate email alerts when user-defined conditional changes in data occur, eliminating the need to search through the collected data to see that something is wrong (or right) with the deployment. Also, a programmatic approach to doing some of the features previously allowed only in the web user interface has been implemented so that sensors in the field can do more without human interaction. Finally, Sensorbase allows users to designate all or portions of their data to be shared with other researchers. The Peru deployment is a joint UCLA and Caltech project to study seismic activity along the South American subduction zone. Along with the seismic data, the seismic team is collecting various kinds of technical data to measure the health of the seismic stations, as well as of the wireless networks that connect them to each other and to the internet. These measures help the seismic team to identify problems as they arise. We created a number of interfaces that display network health metrics for the installed stations to enable members of the seismic team to view the current status of the wireless links across the transect, and helping them to be more responsive to emerging problems. These tools facilitate more efficient sensor deployments by allowing researchers to discover problems with data in real-time, identify and describe the problems, and annotate the solutions for future deployments. Through this process, the resulting data should be of higher quality in the short term, and more easily used and reused in the long term.