CurieuzeNeuzen: IoT to help the environment


UAntwerp’s CurieuzeNeuzen in de Tuin project finished this year, but that’s not the end. Researchers plan to follow up their study of climatological conditions in Flemish gardens. And again they will rely on the Orange Belgium Narrowband IoT network.

How hot or dry are Flanders’ gardens, parks and playgrounds? That is the question the major citizen science project CurieuzeNeuzen in de Tuin aimed to answer last year. The University of Antwerp worked with Orange to implement the technological side of the project. Between April and October, 5,000 curious citizens placed data loggers with smart sensors in their garden. The Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network of Orange Belgium allowed the sensors to collect unique humidity and temperature data from the gardens each day. This provided data on frosty nights in April and offered insights into urban heat islands. The Orange network also connected all the sensors. 


Unique insight

Last summer was the wettest in two centuries, which unexpectedly benefited the research. The data sensors immediately filled a gap in our knowledge: how can gardens act like sponges and buffers in the event of extreme rainfall? However, we still need more information to complete the research on heat and drought. The researchers want to find out more about how drought and heat interact, so they are extending the survey by a year. This means that if next summer is drier and hotter, the researchers will be able to compare data: how do gardens experience a hot day in a wet year versus a hot day in a dry year? To obtain this data, about 1,000 participating gardens will contribute.


Software update

The large scale of the measurements also gives Orange Belgium unique insight into the behaviour of the sensors in its NB-IoT network in different environments, from open countryside to enclosed urban gardens. After the detailed analysis of the first round of research, the Orange engineers implemented a software update to improve the sensor data transmission. The updated data loggers were then returned to the participants. Orange will again use its NB-IoT network for the project based on the knowledge and experience the telecom group has already gained about the sensors. 

The number of IoT applications is expected to rocket in the coming years. CurieuzeNeuzen in de Tuin and Orange Belgium are innovative pioneers in that regard. They show how IoT-based data collection can help scientists study ecosystems and climate change.


Find out about the possibilities of IoT

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