Data Management Skillbuilding Hub

Best Practice: Describe the sensor network


Best Practices by Data Life Cycle

Describe the sensor network

Data Life Cycle stage(s): Describe

If your project uses a sensor network, you should describe and document that network and the instruments it uses. This information is essential to understanding and interpreting the data you use, and should be included as a part of the metadata generated for your project’s data.

  • Describe the basic set-up of the sensor network installation, including such details as mount, power source, enclosures, wiring protection, etc.
  • Describe instrumentation, cameras and samplers (See “Describe measurement techniques” Best Practice in DataONEpedia)
  • Describe data loggers used by the network. Include the following:
    • Manufacturer, model, serial number, dates in use
    • Maintenance/repair history
    • Malfunction history
    • Deployment history
    • Replacement history
  • Ensure localization and time synchronization across data logger arrays
  • Archive copies of any custom scripts, software, or programs used. Scripts and programs should be accompanied by documentation that includes any information pertinent to their use (metadata).
  • As part of metadata, create a human-readable document that describes sampling frequency and data processing performed by the data logger

Description Rationale

Data users need the ability to account for site conditions and equipment choices that may exert a strong influence on the character and/or quality of collected data; this includes significant data processing and selection that happens at the instrument and data logger levels, which is often forgotten.

Additional Information

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Cite this best practice:

Emory Boose, Faerthen Felix, DataONE  (August 30, 2011) "Best Practice: Describe the sensor network". Accessed through the Data Management Skillbuilding Hub at on Aug 22, 2019


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