Sensor Networks on Planetary Scale

Japan is a location that experiences earthquakes on a frequent basis. But the damage caused by the actual earthquake is not as severe as that caused by secondary explosions. It is for this reason that sensor networks have been attracting a significant amount of attention in several research communities.

Individual sensor systems are capable of providing critical observations within a region. But just local observations on their own may not be reliable for certain applications which need global coverage. Governments have been trying to set up embedded sensors for measuring recurrent seismic activity.

Wireless sensor networks are typically made of nodes. These could be several thousand in number and each is linked to a sensor/sensors. Every node in the sensor network will usually have several parts. These include a micro-controller, radio transceiver, battery, electronic circuit etc. One of the most common applications of wireless sensor networks is area monitoring. These sensor networks can successfully prevent consequences of various natural disasters such as earthquakes as it is possible to monitor seismic activity in real time.

In sensor networks, the gas meters have embedded accelerometers to shut off piped gas immediately as and when an earthquake of/above a specific severity strikes.