Implementation of Cyberinfrastructure and Data Management Workflow for a Large-Scale Sensor Network

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Amber Spackman Jones and Jeffery S Horsburgh, Utah State University, Logan, UT, United States
Monitoring with in situ environmental sensors and other forms of field-based observation presents many challenges for data management, particularly for large-scale networks consisting of multiple sites, sensors, and personnel. The availability and utility of these data in addressing scientific questions relies on effective cyberinfrastructure that facilitates transformation of raw sensor data into functional data products. It also depends on the ability of researchers to share and access the data in useable formats. In addition to addressing the challenges presented by the quantity of data, monitoring networks need practices to ensure high data quality, including procedures and tools for post processing. Data quality is further enhanced if practitioners are able to track equipment, deployments, calibrations, and other events related to site maintenance and associate these details with observational data. In this presentation we will describe the overall workflow that we have developed for research groups and sites conducting long term monitoring using in situ sensors. Features of the workflow include: software tools to automate the transfer of data from field sites to databases, a Python-based program for data quality control post-processing, a web-based application for online discovery and visualization of data, and a data model and web interface for managing physical infrastructure. By automating the data management workflow, the time from collection to analysis is reduced and sharing and publication is facilitated. The incorporation of metadata standards and descriptions and the use of open-source tools enhances the sustainability and reusability of the data. We will describe the workflow and tools that we have developed in the context of the iUTAH (innovative Urban Transitions and Aridregion Hydrosustainability) monitoring network. The iUTAH network consists of aquatic and climate sensors deployed in three watersheds to monitor Gradients Along Mountain to Urban Transitions (GAMUT). The variety of environmental sensors and the multi-watershed, multi-institutional nature of the network necessitate a well-planned and efficient workflow for acquiring, managing, and sharing sensor data, which should be useful for similar large-scale and long-term networks.