Environmental Sensing


“Materials, Devices and Networks”

Environmental sensing and cyberinfrastructure (CI) have become recognized as “a research environment that supports advanced data acquisition, data storage, data management, data integration, data mining, data visualization and other computing and information processing services over the Internet”.  The infrastructure capitalizes on environmental, IT, and social dimensions to address global interconnected environmental problems. 

The NSF has recognized its importance and timeliness by establishing the WATer and Environmental Research Systems Network (WATERS Network), to transform our scientific understanding of Earth's water and related biogeochemical cycles and human water use. Networked sensors, assimilation of high-frequency data and interdisciplinary experimentation will enable forecasting and management of critical water processes affecting and affected by human activities across multiple spatial and temporal scales. The WATERS Network will revolutionize the way we perform research and how we educate future scientists across disciplines, and it will improve the public's understanding and concern for the dynamic water cycle.

The need for the network is based on three critical deficiencies in current abilities to understand large-scale environmental systems and thereby develop more effective management strategies. First we lack basic data and the infrastructure to collect them at the needed resolution. Second, we lack the means to integrate data across scales from different media (paper records, electronic worksheets, web-based) and sources (observations, experiments, simulations). Third, we lack sufficiently accurate modeling and decision-support tools to predict the underlying processes or subsequently forecast the effects of different management strategies.

Over the years, our work has focused on:

  1. 1. Enabling Nanotechnology for Sensing Platforms

  2. 2.Conceptualization and Proof-of-Concept Demonstration of Devices

  3. 3.Modeling Infrastructure and Collaboration with Great Lakes Observatories


1. Atkins, Daniel E. (Chair) (2003) Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure: Report of the National Science Foundation Blue-Ribbon Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure

2. Adriaens, P.,   2007.  Materials, Devices and Networks for Environmental Sensing:
A Technical and Entrepreneurial Perspective.  Conference Paper, Tainan Conference on Environmental Sensing, Tainan, Taiwan.

3. NSF, 2006.  Sensors for Environmental Observatories