Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share by email
SwissEx Collaboration

Swiss ExperimentThe Swiss Experiment (SwissEx) project brings field measurements together with cyberinfrastructure for an unprecedented field investigation of environmental processes. The challenge is threefold:

  • Science: the collection of data for a global system, for a wide range of space and time scales and their interpretation;
  • Technology: the deployment of a large number of sensors with differing data rates, resolutions, embedded intelligence, cost, data acquisition, streaming, storage, security, authorization, and so on; and
  • Knowledge management: the preservation of the knowledge of the circumstances, the methods, the locations and times of data acquisition and post-processing.


The main goal of the collaboration between Microsoft Research and the Swiss Experiment project is to explore and enable the use of recent developments in the Technical Computing and the Swiss Experiment in actionMicrosoft Research SenseWeb/SensorMap project to enhance the capabilities of the SwissEx infrastructure and to validate the appropriateness of the Microsoft Research tools in a major e-science context to respond to concrete requirements of environmental scientists in the type of large-scale, collaborative experimental approach taken by the SwissEx. Furthermore, we will explore selected novel technical challenges that emerge through the use of sensor middleware in the context of e-science, specifically in environmental research and engineering, in order to enhance the currently employed methods. The project will be driven by requirements and feedback from environmental scientists.

SenseWeb and SensorMap

Swiss Experiment using Technical ComputingMicrosoft Research SensorMap (a real-time sensor data browsing and visualization application based on Microsoft Research SenseWeb) supports a range of functionalities from configuring sensor nodes through SenseWeb components including a gateway (MSR Sense), a geo-spatial database for managing sensor metadata (Coordinator), a tool for retrieving and visualizing sensor real-time data and metadata (Aggregator), and a visual interface. SenseWeb components and the SensorMap visual interface provide functionalities that are not currently available in this form to the SwissEx, but which respond to needs that environmental scientists have clearly expressed during the planning of the project. An important aspect of SensorMap is the use and development of ontologies and standardization, which is considered highly important by the environmental scientists, especially for the description of instruments and data.

Collaboration Plan
Technical Computing at work

The envisaged new kind of e-science-tool support for environmental engineering must be based on the capability to integrate data and services from heterogeneous sources, which, in turn, is based on an understanding of the specific requirements and models used by environmental research. In particular, it will be necessary to provide and process metadata that captures data provenance and quality so that data can be shared and integrated across experiments and research groups with a sufficient level of background knowledge and trust. Therefore, the project will be structured in two main areas:

  • Data management for dealing with the storage, querying, analysis, and visualization of sensors and sensor data. This includes:
    • The development of an interoperability layer between SensorMap and GSN;
    • The enabling of SensorMap as a tool for visual browsing of measurement data and experimental sites; and
    • The complex scientific spatio-temporal query processing of experimental data.
  • Information management for dealing with modeling and ontologies for data and metadata and services and scientific workflows. This includes:
    • The development of shared base ontologies for experimental data;
    • The modeling and automated generation of domain-specific quality and provenance information; and
    • The support of automated composition and integration of semantically enriched data services.

Note: The text on this page was adapted from the Swiss Experiment Web site with kind permission from our partners, the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).