Vista Engineering / Vista Data Vision

Bonanza Creek long term ecological research - 2009


Like many research programs, our LTER site is continually struggling to manage numerous remote sensor stations and their data . We are constantly looking to improve the quality and availability of the data they are collecting while using technician time and resources effectively. One option on the market to manage sensor network data is Vista Data Vision (VDV) and after some initial testing, we decided to take the plunge and have not yet been disappointed.  You must be thinking, 'What can this program do for me?'. The answer is everything; well just about. It comes prepackaged with everything you need to take data from a field datalogger, pass it through some standard QA/QC filters, deposit it in a MySQL database, and make it fully viewable and downloadable on the internet. And all of this can be done without any custom coding or database configuration; in fact you could practically do it without ever having created a web page or even knowing anything about MySQL.

The system architecture is designed to function through three main application components. The first, db.robot.c, monitors the data files in your library and copies new data into the MySQL database. While the specific design and configuration of this database could be completely ignored, more advanced users can use any number of MySQL GUI tools to interact with this instance as they would any other; allowing even more options to extract and manipulate the contents. The second application,, is a configurable data browser that allows users to configure setup options and display data from a variety of stations and sensors in graphical format. With this the user can create pages with up to six graphs, each having up to six variables, that can then be browsed through time or edited if need be. This component also functions to create reports for entry back into the db.robot.c or produce advanced calculations, such as wind roses or wind energy calculations. Lastly, there is db.web.browser which allows the web user to do much of the operations (excluding setup and graphical edits) and includes everything needed to initiate and deploy an accessible web service. This allows users outside the local network to access data and download the data as text files for use with other applications to analyze or archive.

The Vista Data Vision program monitors your .DAT data files, collected with CS's Loggernet or Canary System's Multilogger; and as they are updated with new data, it is imported into a MySQL database (installed and configured by VDV) where it is immediately available to view or download on the web. Historical data files as well can be simply imported and there are file converters available if your data is in .CSV files.

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