Remote environmental datacollection system

Robert D. Stevenson


An electronic datacollectlon system has been set up to monitor environmental conditions in several Canadian National Historic Sites.

A datalogger (a small dedicated computer) at each site is connected to as many as 16 sensors which read relative humidity, temperature and lux at several points on the site (mostly in display cases). The datalogger may manipulate the data and then store It for a period of time determined, amongst other things, by its memory capacity. The datalogger is also connected to a modem and through that to a dedicated phone line.

A computer in the regional Historic Resource Conservation Lab of the Canadian Parks Service calls each of these dataloggers once a week (a process which is performed manually but which can be automated if desired), downloads the data and retains it on disk for intermediate term storage (limited only by disk capacity). Graphs and reports are then produced from this data as needed. The data is maintained on backup disks for protection and long term storage.

At one of the sites the datalogger is also connected to a device which will call up to 4 phone numbers in sequence and deliver a prerecorded message. This occurs when one of the sensors records a reading which exceeds a preset limit.

This paper will address the following:

  • Why is the data being collected?
  • How is the information utilized once collected?
  • What is the future of our system in particular and of electronic datacollection in general?
  • What are the advantages of electronic datacollection over other more traditional methods?
  • A brief history of the system development will be given, with cautionary notes for those who wish to follow.
  • Details of the technology used and its approximate cost (in Canada) will be available as handouts.
  • An installation will be described (with slides) to give an idea of the problems and costs involved.
1989 | Cincinnati