Saturday, February 09, 2008

Technology in the Rainforest

Senior Chris Fusting and I recently returned from a 10-day research trip in Panama, where we tested the use of SunSPOTs (Small, Programmable Object Technology) on the Cocobolo Nature Reserve. Our goal was to do some initial field testing of the sensors in anticipation of deploying a larger wireless sensor network in the coming years. These networks can be used to monitor all kinds of ecological phenomena at geographic and temporal scales that were previously difficult or impossible to achieve, and the data collected in the forest can be made accessible via the web in almost real time. We hope that soon our GIS crew members will be able to interact with the sensors in Panama while sitting at a computer in our lab -- cool stuff!