July 08, 2010 -- The SWIMA project (‘Sensor Web for Infrastructure Management’) is using live field trials in the River Tamar catchment to demonstrate how the use of the Open Geospatial Consortium’s (OGC) international ‘Sensor Web Enablement’ (SWE) standards can improve environmental monitoring capabilities. Supported by the Technology Strategy Board, the two-year £900,000 project involves a QinetiQ-led consortium which includes: 1Spatial Group Limited, the Environment Agency of England and Wales; South West Water; YSI Hydrodata Limited and the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Geospatial Science (CGS).
SWIMA comprises a number of different components but 1Spatial is specifically responsible for the design and development of a number of ‘SWE Nodes’, based on their ‘OGC-compliant Sensor Control & Access Resource’ (OSCAR) software. These nodes interface to a range of in-situ sensors that are deployed in the Tamar catchment. Different SWE node software and hardware configurations have been implemented by 1Spatial to cope with a range of SWIMA deployment environments such as the Tamar Lake Dam, the Tamar Lake and Tamar River, as well as in-field communication requirements such as GPRS, GSM, fixed Internet and satellite communications. Via a SWE web client developed by QinetiQ, SWIMA users can communicate with the deployed SWE nodes to retrieve data collected by attached in-field sensors, receive alerts triggered by a SWE nodes’ automatic analysis of observations, and disseminate new sensor measurement regimes, for example alter a sensor’s sampling frequency or obtain an immediate observation. The trials of the end-to-end deployed SWIMA system are expected to run until late summer 2010.
Following the principles of ‘Self-Organising Sensor Networks’, SWIMA is also investigating the concept of ‘autonomic services’, where an event recognised at one or more sensors automatically triggers control requests to other sensors in the network. Such services/triggers can exist at both the node (for local event situations) and at the client interface level (based on wider area event analysis), supporting the notion of ‘intelligent and self-organising sensors’.
Richard Proud, 1Spatial’s SWIMA Project Manager said: “This is an exciting project for us as we believe SWE standards can play a significant role in establishing new effective interoperable monitoring systems and promote data sharing. As such we are keen to see our developments deployed and trialled under real world conditions and used by our major end user partners in the domain of environment and asset management.”
Use of SWE standards promotes interoperable access across disparate sensor-based (often environmental, but not limited to) information collection systems; it hides the intricacies of low-level sensor operation protocols and communications by providing a standard set of high-level web services that a user can use to interact with any compliant underlying sensor network. Using these services, SWE-compatible clients can, using standard protocols, retrieve observations, send control commands, set and receive alerts, etc., in effect forming an ‘Internet for Sensors’.
Images of one of the installations are available on request.