Project Profile – Long Term Data Logger
Developing an Affordable Data Logger for Conservation Projects in Africa
I’m from South Africa and I have been involved in conservation and development in Africa for nearly 20 years. For the last 6 years I have been involved with conservation efforts in western Zambia, including plans to set up the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, which will cover 4 countries and be the size of Italy. My current work is on Zambezi Teak forests which have been declining for years and represent hotspots of carbon and biodiversity in the region. This project is for a PhD at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom.
As climate change issues become more important, scientists need to have data to argue their case. Whether you believe in climate change or not, it’s only by years of collecting hard data that we will be able to figure out how climate is changing. The key to this is cheap data loggers. If it’s easy for researchers to design and build these loggers then chances are more data will be collected. Having a platform like the TinyDuino is the first step towards building some great instruments. The more options there are to deploy Arduino devices in real applications the more the Arduino community will benefit from the device being used by a bigger community.
Why I Chose TinyCircuits
I first read about the TinyDuino in a tweet from WIRED and then clicked through to the original article. It’s small size and lower cost enables me to build a device that I wouldn’t be able to do with the normal Arduino.
I need a cheap way to log basic environmental parameters (light, humidity, soil moisture and temperature) over a period of about a year. I’ve been looking at the Arduino platform, but the standard Arduino and shields are too expensive and too big for what I want to build. The TinyDuino boards are perfect. With a TinyDuino Processor Board, and a TinyShield Proto Board I could have all the sensors I need attached to the Proto Board. Since I only need 4 measurements a day I plan to power the unit with a battery and optimize the software for minimal power consumption. Since I only need one TinyShield USB for programming each unit this represents a cost saving right away. It would be essential to have enough data storage on board to log all the data for a year, so a shield which had a micro SD card and RTC would be nice.
This project will make use of the following TinyCircuits modules:
- TinyDuino Processor Board – used for the main logging system
- TinyShield USB – To allow for communication and programming, and only one is needed for all the sensor boards saving cost.
- TinyShield Proto – To connect to the system
- TinyShield microSD – For long term data logging
For Further Information
Information on this project
Information on the Phones for Forest project
Michael Musgrave: firstname.lastname@example.org