Real-time streaming of environmental field data

Enrique R. Vivoni, Richard Camilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Field measurements in the environmental sciences still depend upon the pencil and paper notebook for data collection. Although robust, this method is labor-intensive and susceptible to recording and georeferencing errors during transcription. Recent advances in mobile computing and wireless communications allow the geoscientist to process and transmit data while still in the field, thereby minimizing human errors and time delays. We describe an integrated system developed for environmental and geolocation data acquisition that is intended to streamline the collection process. The system consists of software applications and hardware components that enable wireless, mobile and Internet computing during field campaigns. In particular, two-way transfer and display of collected data is achieved between the field site and a remote location, a concept referred to as field data streaming. A prototype system has been tested in field trials in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Field studies demonstrate the noticeable gains in efficiency and precision achieved with the use of the field streaming technology. Potential applications include biogeochemical and hydrologic studies, water quality monitoring, emergency response to water-borne disasters and intensive field sampling campaigns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-468
Number of pages12
JournalComputers and Geosciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental monitoring
  • Field data collection
  • Geographic information systems
  • Mobile computing
  • Wireless communications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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