Data in a Box: arQ in the Heart of Weather Data Acquisition

6 Feb 2019 2:22 PM
By Aldrin Ramos

 

 

We now exist in a data-driven world. Technologies and applications are being developed around the deluge of research data. In data collection, gone are the days when researchers have to go to the field to get the needed data, as the process is becoming more and more convenient with data logging devices. A data logger is the heart of any data acquisition device. In environmental research, it is able to collect weather parameters, at set intervals, such as temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed, among others. It can also be used in agriculture to determine optimum planting conditions by sensing and storing the soil moisture level, and in various other applications that require automatic logging of data.

The DOST-ASTI’s interest in technologies that can be used for early warning in typhoon events, led a research team from the Institute to develop the Advanced Remote Data Acquisition Unit (arQ). The design of the arQ is suited to the weather conditions and locale of the Philippines. These factors were carefully considered, and the team was able to integrate various features and functions to the design. An important feature is the low operating power consumption and the built-in intelligent power management scheme, which makes it suitable for renewable energy sources such as solar power and for use in remote areas that have no or minimal access to electricity. There is also a redundant power scheme equipped with primary and secondary power systems. In terms of communication capability, the arQis able to send data by switching from GSM/GPRS to satellite communication depending on available infrastructure in the deployment area. It is able to resend data in case of network disruption and the heath and system status of the device can be remotely queried and monitored. The system settings can also be configured remotely using overthe-air (OTA) programming. Finally, the arQ has a flexible interface that
can accommodate different sensor types and communication modules.

Data Acquisition systems have been around for quite some time and continue to be highly indispensable with the incessant need to gather data for studying and monitoring the natural and built environments. The customizability of the features and functions of the arQ means that the device can be configured to acquire, store and transmit data in response to varying requirements or specifications of researchers and data analysts. The team from DOST-ASTI continues to improve the firmware and hardware design of the arQ. Recent modifications involve a change in the power board design to effectuate better heat distribution, improvements in the battery charging circuitry and power redundancy selector, replacement of on-board flash memory for storing larger data and the use of a new real-time clock.

The arQ is the heart of the weather devices developed by the DOST-ASTI such as the Automated Weather Stations (AWS), Automated Rain Gauges (ARG) and Water Level Monitoring Stations (WLMS). These devices are used in various projects including the Deployment of Early Warning System (DEWS), Development of Agrometeorological Stations (AGROMET), Development of Meteorological Buoys (MetBuoy) and the Development of Tsunami Early Warning Devices (TEWS).

Its internal electronic part comprises of a Main Controller Board (MCB), Global System for Mobile (GSM) Communication Board, Satellite Adapter Board and Power Board 1 and 2, and one internal GSM antenna. Transmission of data is through GSM/ GPRS and/or Satellite.

 

The Research Team

Gerwin P. Guba
Supervising Science Research Specialist
Solutions and Services Engineering Division

Glenn Vincent C. Lopez
Senior Science Research Specialist
Solutions and Services Engineering Division

Harold Bryan S. Paler
Senior Science Research Specialist
Solutions and Services Engineering Division

Jericho C. Capito
Science Research Specialist II
Solutions and Services Engineering Division

Felan Carlo C. Garcia
Science Research Specialist II
Solutions and Services Engineering Division

Jasmin Jane M. Yabut
Science Research Specialist I
Solutions and Services Engineering Division