Recent advances in technology have positively impacted the development of sensor networks. However, data management, a vital aspect of the sensor data collection process, has failed to keep pace. Therefore, current hydrological sensing solutions often suffer from a lack of homogenous metadata descriptions for both instrumentation and data item collected. These shortcomings may be attributed to the fact that the solutions are developed around data loggers which are not designed nor programmed to capture, operate on, and serve observations and accompanying metadata in a network. This makes sensors and sensor networks agnostic to each other and thus inherently creates the conditions for a heterogeneous mix of different semantic and syntactic systems. Such an inconsistency increases considerably the workload in the sensor post-deployment phase and human error in the installed data management system.
This paper introduces a fully integrated data collection, data management and data curation solution designed to a) overcome the sensor-and-data management schism in hydrological observation systems and b) involve minimal human effort and expertise for its operation. It is composed of a) a software framework that supports metadata capture at the outset of the sensor deployment phase, data management, access, analysis and publication, to name a few and b) a sensor platform named TranscodX. TranscodX sets itself apart from dataloggers, in its capability to capture, transcode, and stream sensor measurements and corresponding metadata to an embedded standard data management framework. TranscodX further supports the capture, integration and processing of community-defined semantics and syntax using controlled vocabularies needed to enable information systems interoperability. Because of its extended capabilities, we labeled it a Transcoder rather than a data logger.