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2009 Third International Symposium on Intelligent Information Technology Application Workshops

Forest Monitoring Application Systems Based on Wireless Sensor Networks

Huanqi Tao Heng Zhang

College of Electronics and Information Engineering College of Electronics and Information Engineering
Wuhan University of Science and Engineering Wuhan University of Science and Engineering
Wuhan, China Wuhan, China,

Abstract–This paper illustrates a kind of forest monitoring The forest environment monitoring system based on
system solution of wireless sensor networks based on ZigBee in wireless sensor networks is the specific application of
order to improve the insufficiency of the existing monitoring wireless sensor networks in the area of remote
ways and introduces wireless sensor networks technology. environmental monitoring. Compared with the existing
Through the comprehensive analysis of three respects of monitoring system, it has the advantage of low labor costs,
network topology, energy saving as well as being stable and wide monitoring distribution, data accuracy, and little
reliable, this paper brings forward the hardware design of impact on forest ecology and so on. Environmental
sensor network node and network protocols suitable for forest monitoring in the forest has broad application prospects.
monitoring .The designed system can conduct effective
monitoring of forest environment. Ċ. WIRELESS SENSOR NETWORKS AND
Keywords–monitoring; wireless sensor; topology structure; TOPOLOGY
hardware design; network protocol Wireless sensor networks (WSN) is still in the prelimi-
nary stage of research and application. WSN research
ĉ. INTRODUCTION involves a lot of technical content, including a variety of
The value and importance of forest not only shows application supporting technologies such as the
providing the material basis for human life, but also plays an micro-sensors, embedded systems, distributed
irreplaceable role in improving and regulating the communications, wireless communications, data fusion,
temperature of the atmospheric environment. It is not only network protocols, network security and operating system
an important task to promote the construction of modern [3]. Wireless sensor networks is composed of a large
forestry to strengthen monitoring of forest protection and number of low-cost micro-sensor nodes deployed in the
minimize forest losses caused by disasters, but also the monitoring region and the multi-hop network of
necessary requirement to protect forest ecological self-organizing system formed through wireless
environment and ensure fast and good development of communication. It aims at collaborating, collecting and
economy and society [1]. Therefore, the establishment of the processing the information of perceived object and sends the
real-time forest environment monitoring system has very information to observers. The basic node sensor network
important value and is meaningful. consists of dedicated sensors with small size, low cost, data
It means a lot of difficulties in monitoring because of the processing, wireless communications and a high degree of
specificity and differences of forest environment, such as collaboration [4]. Wireless sensor networks system typically
high mountains, deep valley and wide range . Currently, includes three levels of sensor nodes, aggregation nodes and
there are mainly two monitoring ways: one is manual the management nodes. A large number of sensor nodes
sampling with portable monitoring equipment, and the other which can be spread through the aircraft, artificial planting
is integrated monitoring with satellite remote sensing and rocket catapults and other ways are deployed in the
technology[2]. The former way can not be used on region or in the vicinity of monitoring [5].
long-range real-time monitoring of environmental parameter, There are three wireless sensor networks topological
in particular in the dangerous areas where human being can structures supported by the ZigBee agreement: star-shaped,
not reach with the problems of limited monitoring range, cluster type, and mesh type. As shown in Figure 1 [6]. There
long-term period, labor-intensive, poor pertinence, and slow can be a number of links for network structure from the
data collection. The latter way is able to be used to solve the source node to the destination node, and the establishment
problems above, but it only can offer profile information of of these links is dynamic and dynamic maintenance. When
appearance due to the requirements of distance and there are problems in links, ZigBee can find another link to
resolution, and the shortcoming of the data not precise maintain communications and improve reliability. In the
enough and deficiency of parameter. Therefore, the two mesh structure with multi-hop, the communications power
methods mentioned above can not meet the requirements of consumption of each node can be greatly reduced, which no
conducting full range of remote monitoring in the forest doubt has great appeal for wireless sensor networks with the
environment where the situation is severe and condition is special requirements of power saving. In addition, the mesh
complicated. structure of the network can also make up more complex

978-0-7695-3860-0/09 $26.00 © 2009 IEEE 227

DOI 10.1109/IITAW.2009.66
Wireless Sensor


star-type cluster-type

Sensor Node Node

mesh-type Figure 2. Network structure

Figure 1. Network topology of supported by ZigBee
of data and sends as well as receives module data through
network, with greater routing depth and network node size. ZigBee. The remote monitoring of environmental site is
The distance between each network node can be extended to realized through the necessary processing and analysis of
several hundred meters, even a few kilometers from the the received data by the embedded controller and sending
standard 75 meters. Thus, the wireless sensor networks with data to the master control center via Ethernet networks.
mesh structure are appropriate in a wide range of enviro- From the perspective of process of obtaining accurate and
nmental monitoring. objective data, ZigBee wireless sensor nodes and ZigBee
coordinator node are two most important parts in the entire
ċ. FOREST EMVIRONMENTAL MONITORING system. In order to ensure effective operation of the network,
SYSTEM ARCHITECURE this system focuses on energy-efficient design and reliability
The wireless sensor networks technology can be used analysis.
effectively for the remote monitoring of forests or grassland
pasture vegetation, particularly suitable for the dangerous Č. SYSTEM HARDWARE COMPONENTS
areas such as the long-term unmanned or uninhabited high
mountain. A. ZigBee Sensor Node Hardware
According to the specificity of the forest environment Wireless sensor networks nodes belong to a micro-
and the specific analysis, the system structure, topology, embedded system, which constitutes the elementary
node structure, hardware and software working environment, hardware platform of the wireless sensor networks[7][8][9].
network protocol and positioning mechanism of the wireless According to the specificity of the monitoring objectives, it
sensor networks applied to forest environmental monitoring, is more important for us to focus on low-cost, low power,
have to meet the requirements of environmental monitoring safe and reliable design for sensor nodes applied for forest
of forest. In the monitoring process of the forest environmental monitoring. As the central processor module,
environment, the relevant information that is offered by a ZigBee wireless sensor nodes consists of sensor modules,
large number of sensor nodes in the random distribution in processor modules, wireless communication modules and
the region is sent timely to the coordinator node through the components such as power supply modules. Structure
routing. Coordinator node feeds data to the management Shown in Figure 3.
node, namely, manual monitoring center or automatic Atmel Corporation’s 8-bit microcontroller ATmega128L
control station through the optical fiber, the internet or is selected as the data processing unit of the processor in the
launch base stations and satellite. Figure 4, considering the various aspects of energy
This paper illustrates wireless sensor networks system conservation, stability, scalability and ease of system
design proposal supported by ZigBee via the example of the follow-up upgrade. In comparison with other 8-bit
communications of between a group of ZigBee sensor nodes microcontroller, ATmega128L has more abundant resources
as well as coordinator node and control center network and low energy consumption, as well as a variety of internal
through Ethernet in the forest environmental monitoring and external interrupt mode. Chip has 128KB of program
system. System Architecture as Shown in Figure 2. memory Flash and static 4KB data memory SRAM
The working principle is: the ZigBee module is (expandable to 64KB) and 4KB of E2PROM. In addition, it
embedded into specific sensors by system, as a node of also has 8-channel 10-bit ADC converter, two 8-bit and two
wireless sensor networks. When finding abnormal 16-bit timers/counter, UART, SPI, and I2C bus interface.
perceptual changes - such as the case of fire, smoke signal JTAG debug port provides a convenient connection for the
sensors monitor such changes, then immediately interrupt it development and the application. In addition to the usual
to activate the node chip. Chip input into the data collection mode of operation, it also equips six kinds of different levels
of low-power operating mode for wireless sensor networks,
process sends out data packets through the ZigBee wireless
suitable for energy-saving needs. The wireless
transceiver modules when data collection is finished. As the communication module of the nodes adopts TI's ZigBee RF
core of the system, ZigBee Coordinator is responsible for transceiver chip CC2420, which is the transceiver chip with
the management of the entire network and the transmitting a 2.4GHz IEEE802.15.4 compatible wireless communi-

Power RF
Supply Transceiver
ATMEGA Transceiver SRAM
CC2420 ARM9
RS-232 STE100P
128L STR912F Display
SENSOR Controller
MCU Interface W44X6
RS-232 Keyboard
Debug Port
Figure 3. Sensor-node structure with ZigBee Figure 4. Coordinator-node structure with ZigBee

cation protocol and it can work in the 2.4 the G-band (2.4G accurately in the forest environment monitoring. There is
band is an open band) just with few peripheral circuits like the problem of node failure for the wireless sensor nodes
an antenna as well as crystal. CC2420 also provides an SPI because of poor working conditions and limited energy
interface with a microcontroller connected for the constraint. Therefore, as for the routing protocol, this
completion of tasks of setting, sending and receiving data. condition should be taken into account that the whole
In addition, CC2420 adopts O-QPSK modulation to support system can work properly, even if some of the temporary
the data transfer rate up to 250Kbps and is able to achieve nodes do not work temporarily. In order to obtain reliable
the rapid point-to-multipoint network. data transmission, routing protocols should mainly be
B. ZigBee Coordinator Node Hardware considered from the following two aspects: (1) The relia-
bility of communications is ensured with the redundancy
As the center of the entire system, ZigBee coordinator
feature of nodes to provide multiple paths. (2) The reliable
node is responsible for many tasks in the forest distributed
estimates mechanism for transmission is established to
environmental monitoring system, and plays the role of
ensure the reliability of single-hop transmission.
coordinating network. Therefore, controller node
According to multi-path routing mechanism, the basic
Coordinator is high demand in system. The traditional
idea ensuring the reliability of communication is: The main
single-chip appears to be inadequate in some respects. ARM
path is created first from the data source node to the cluster
is the preferred alternative to the traditional single-chip
node, and then the multiple paths are established; Data is
microcomputer because of its characteristics of
transmitted through the main path, and the effectiveness is
high-performance, low power and low-cost, Therefore,
maintained through back-up path and low-speed data
ARM9 processor STR912FW44X6 is chosen as the master
transmission. When the main path fails, the sub-optimal path
chip of coordinator node for this scheme. This chip is
can be chosen as the new path from the backup.
particularly suited to the needs of rapid response and
In addition, in order to extend the network of
wireless sensor networks in connection with Ethernet due to
energy-saving and life-cycle, the system life cycle can be
its advantages of fast running, large storage space and
extended through reasonable choice of the location and
convenience in connection with Ethernet.
arrangement of node scheduling algorithm in the wireless
The ZigBee coordinator node hardware structure is
sensor networks application[10]. This paper adopts a
shown in Figure 4, which is equipped with a series of
centralized and distributed clustering algorithm: That is,
expansion function modules to configure and with the core
cluster type is formed in several ways to have a greater
of STR912FW44X6 chip.
exchange capacity in the network of the early life cycle;
Among them, the master chip STR912FW44X6 is
When the energy is about to run out, the appearing of
high-performance embedded chip based on ARM966E-S
cluster-type is determined by distributed algorithm. That
core- developed by STMicroelectronics with computing
means that coordinator node is no longer involved in the
speeds of up to 96MIPS, and can be conducted by
generation of cluster nodes, and its appearing depends on
single-cycle DSP instructions. Chip is integrated with
consultation of the sensor node itself.
544kB Flash and 96kB SRAM, as well as MAC, USB,
UART, I2C and CAN communications with the access to Ď. CONCLUSION
Ethernet. There are 80 GPIO, 8-channel 10-bit ADC,
3-phase motor controller, watchdog programmable timer Wireless sensor networks has an important impact for
and 9 DMA channel. the future development of information technology for its
TI's ZigBee chip RF transceiver CC2420 is also applied feature of low-cost, low power consumption, dynamic
in the wireless transceiver module. In addition, the routing, automatic network, protocol flexibility, and
coordinator node is connected with existing Ethernet convenient application. This paper proposed the use of
through the Ethernet Controller STE100P and the system ZigBee wireless sensor networks and Ethernet interconnect
makes the design of RS232 interface, keyboard and LCD specific design methods in the forest monitoring systemˈ
display in accordance with the actual needs. with the aim at the specificity of forest monitoring, on the
basis of discussed the project of wireless sensor applications.
č. NETWORK PROTOCOL It will is helpful to the study and exploration in the
The system is required to transmit real-time data environmental monitoring and promotes more application

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Innovation Foundation of Hubei Province Department of 2007, 20 (8): 1875-1880
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