Wireless Sensor Networks In Geophysics
Charles P. Oden, Gary R. Olhoeft, Dan P. Jones and Stan S. Smith
Event name: 21st EEGS Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems
Session: Future of Geophysical Technoloqy
Publication date: 06 April 2008
Info: Extended abstract, PDF ( 692.44Kb )
A significant expense in geophysics is physically collecting data – especially data sets involving multiple field deployments. Limited site access due to hazards, weather, legal issues, etc. may also limit data collection. Consequently, many datasets have too few measurement types, too little spatial coverage, and too little temporal coverage which results in increasing uncertainty and ambiguity in our problem solutions. Wireless sensor networks are an emerging technology that addresses many of these issues. Today’s wireless sensors are small (typically a few centimeters on a side), can be left in the field for long periods of time without servicing, and are inexpensive enough to be considered disposable. Wireless sensors are a combination of several recent technological advances including inexpensive miniature sensors, low power radio telemetry, time synchronization techniques, localization techniques (spatial awareness), and energy harvesting methods. Single chip sensors are available for measuring electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields, temperature, pressure, mechanical displacement,
chemistry, attitude, and more. These sensors can be used in several geophysical methods including seismic, DC resistivity, induced polarization, EM induction, magnetometry, and ground penetrating radar (GPR). The small size of these sensors allows multiple types of measurements to be incorporated in a single sensor node. Examples of the wireless sensor network applications include the long term monitoring and assessment of infrastructure, investigations in ecology and environment, tracking fluids or contaminant migration, and resource and exploration studies. In this paper, we review some of the capabilities and limitations of current wireless sensor network technology.