In situ calibration of low-cost instrumentation for the measurement of ambient quantities: evaluation methodology of the algorithms and diagnosis of drifts


In various fields going from agriculture to public health, ambient quantities have to be monitored in indoors or outdoors areas. For example, temperature, air pollutants, water pollutants, noise and so on have to be tracked. To better understand these various phenomena, an increase of the density of measuring instruments is currently necessary. For instance, this would help to analyse the effective exposure of people to nuisances such as air pollutants. The massive deployment of sensors in the environment is made possible by the decreasing costs of measuring systems, mainly using sensitive elements based on micro or nano technologies. The drawback of this type of instrumentation is a low quality of measurement, consequently lowering the confidence in produced data and/or a drastic increase of the instrumentation costs due to necessary recalibration procedures or periodical replacement of sensors. There are multiple algorithms in the literature offering the possibility to perform the calibration of measuring instruments while leaving them deployed in the field, called in situ calibration techniques. The objective of this thesis is to contribute to the re- search effort on the improvement of data quality for low-cost measuring instruments through their in situ calibration. In particular, we aim at 1) facilitating the identification of existing in situ calibration strategies applicable to a sensor network depending on its properties and the characteristics of its instruments; 2) helping to choose the most suitable algorithm depending on the sensor network and its context of deployment; 3) improving the efficiency of in situ calibration strategies through the diagnosis of instruments that have drifted in a sensor network. Three main contributions are made in this work. First, a unified terminology is proposed to classify the existing works on in situ calibration. The review carried out based on this taxonomy showed there are numerous contributions on the subject, covering a wide variety of cases. Nevertheless, the classification of the existing works in terms of performances was difficult as there is no reference case study for the evaluation of these algorithms. Therefore in a second step, a framework for the simulation of sensors networks is introduced. It is aimed at evaluating in situ calibration algorithms. A detailed case study is provided across the evaluation of in situ calibration algorithms for blind static sensor networks. An analysis of the influence of the parameters and of the metrics used to derive the results is also carried out. As the results are case specific, and as most of the algorithms recalibrate instruments without evaluating first if they actually need it, an identification tool enabling to determine the instruments that are actually faulty in terms of drift would be valuable. Consequently, the third contribution of this thesis is a diagnosis algorithm targeting drift faults in sensor networks without making any assumption on the kind of sensor network at stake. Based on the concept of rendez-vous, the algorithm allows to identify faulty instruments as long as one instrument at least can be assumed as non-faulty in the sensor network. Across the investigation of the results of a case study, we propose several means to reduce false results and guidelines to adjust the parameters of the algorithm. Finally, we show that the proposed diagnosis approach, combined with a simple calibration technique, enables to improve the quality of the measurement results. Thus, the diagnosis algorithm opens new perspectives on in situ calibration.

Institut Polytechnique de Paris
Florentin Delaine
Florentin Delaine
Safety Assurance Manager