Colorado mountains

The Sevilleta LTER Wireless Data Acquisition Network

Poster Number: 
Presenter/Primary Author: 
Renée F. Brown
Donald O. Natvig

Over the past eight years we have constructed a large-scale wireless telemetry network that connects research experiments and wildlife monitoring webcams to the Internet via links to the University of New Mexico Sevilleta Field Station.  This network currently serves over thirty locations distributed across several thousand square kilometers in central New Mexico.  Furthermore, this network provides real-time data acquisition from nearly fifty dataloggers located at weather and GPS reference stations, global change experiments, and flux towers.  To our knowledge, this is the largest remote data acquisition network in the Long Term Ecological Research Network.  While the majority of sites connected to this network are within the boundaries of the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, the network includes several sites outside the Refuge, with the most distant link being nearly one hundred kilometers from the Sevilleta Field Station.  An ancillary network in the Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico exists to provide remote connectivity to additional Sevilleta LTER research sites.  Hundreds of person hours and thousands of vehicle miles are saved each year by eliminating regular visits to remote sites just to download data manually.  Moreover, this network allows for prompt detection of equipment and power failures, reducing overall data loss.  Our network consists of Wi-Fi devices that permit links averaging more than ten kilometers and in several instances, exceeding thirty kilometers.  The use of Wi-Fi has allowed us tremendous flexibility in design and has kept costs low.  Here, we describe the basic elements of our remote data acquisition network and the special features of the New Mexico landscape that make long distance links possible. 

Background Photo by: Nicole Hansen - Jornada (JRN) LTER