APRS is a protocol for communicating sensor data over a variety of unreliable networks - the most common application for APRS at the moment is to share real-time location tracking. It is also used to provide weather station data, and may be used to provide other sensor data. The richness of the ham radio APRS deployment so far offers a wealth of potential sensing uses for the motivated non-commercial organization.
- Medium to high power sensor network applications
- Low power sensor network applications (but probably not quite suitable for long term sensor deployments without solar or wind power - perhaps -wwward)
- Mapping weather conditions within a local geographic area (where a wide distribution of APRS-equipped automated weather stations exist.)
- Remote environmental monitoring for facilities, such as power, temperature, or simple sensors such as fire alarms or intrusion detection.
What makes APRS appealing, versus other published sensor network protocols (and I haven't spent any time studying them other than the articles I read in ACM or IEEE publications -wwward) is that for non-commercial use, the Ham Radio community provides an enormous transport layer for APRS-encapsulated data. Many nodes exist to receive transmissions from sensors, and gateways to bring that data to the Internet also exist. Each sensor can be programmed with its coordinates, which automatically plots the sensor on a map on the FindU website. It may be possible to automatically query the website to extract the sensor data from the APRS payload presented on the web page.
This may provide researchers in non-commercial organizations with the ability to deploy and test sensor network technology without breaking the bank, or to enable enterprising young groups the ability to deploy sensor networks in novel ways until such time that low power mesh sensing systems fall within the range of small budget research groups.
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