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Smart sensors can measure pretty much anything

Branko Kerkez (alumnus of the Glaser lab) searches for a signal from wireless motes in the network.

12 Aug 2013
News Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Network of iPhone-size devices keeps tabs on state water supply

Image: Branko Kerkez (alumnus of the Glaser lab) searches for a signal from wireless motes in the network. [Click image to enlarge]

by Olga Kharif 

In February, six students on snowshoes battled as much as 12 feet of snow to penetrate into the heart of the American River basin. Moving through dense forests and meadows, they mounted 90 iPhone-size machines, designed to measure everything from soil moisture to temperature and relative humidity, onto 16-foot poles that beam data to researchers like Steven Glaser, a professor at UC Berkeley. With additional trips this summer, Glaser hopes to create the world’s largest sensor network, comprised of 7,500 devices that will inform researchers and government agencies for the first time in detail how much water California has in its coffers — critical data for farmers and state planners.

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Design and Performance of a Wireless Sensor Network for Catchment-scale Snow and Soil Moisture Measurements. Kerkez, B., Glaser, S.D., Bales, R.C., and Meadows, M.W. (2012): Water Resources Research, 48 (9), W09515


Sampling design and optimal sensor placement strategies for basin-scale SWE estimation. Kerkez, B., Welch, S.C., Bales, R.C., Glaser, S.D., Rittger, K.E., and R. Rice (2012): Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union, December 2012. Abstract C33C-0683.

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