Several sensors linked to the LoRaWAN network are to be placed in mangrove swamp at Minnamurra, just north of Kiama.
They will measure the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the swamp over time.
Project leader, coastal geomorphologist Dr Rafael Carvalho, said the Internet of Things will provide an effective and relatively inexpensive solution to a long-running issue.
“Previously, we had to choose between two imperfect options,” Dr Carvalho, a lecturer in Spatial Sciences at the School of Earth and Environmental Science, said.
“We could locate a sensor on a tower in the swamp, and this would record the amount of gas emitted over time.
“But it is an expensive option, and does not tell us anything about spatial variation.
“Or we could use ‘the static chamber technique’ where gas is collected at multiple sites, but there it has to be collected manually, and so there is no real temporal variation.
“The solution that is made possible by the Digital Living Lab, allows us to use low-cost sensors spread over the site, and uploading data to the internet.
“We thus have both spatial and temporal variation of the data.”
Dr Carvalho thanked SMART researchers Johan Barthelemy, Hugh Forehead, Nicolas Verstaevel and SMART Project Coordinator, Benoit Passot for help in selecting the right sensors with micro-controllers that would work for the project.
The Greenhouse gas emissions in estuaries project is expected to go live in about six months. The project was funded by the Global Challenges Program.