Check out my latest paper titled A Survey on the Specification of the Physical Environment of Wireless Sensor Networks in which I, together with Henry Muccini, performed an online survey about how WSN engineers currently specify the physical environment and how they would like to do it.
Here you can download the paper: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/login.jsp?tp=&arnumber=6928805, and here you can find the slides of the presentation:
The paper has been presented at SEAA 2014, the 40th Euromicro Conference series on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications , held in Verona (Italy).
Abstract. A wireless Sensor Network (WSN) consists of spatially distributed sensor nodes that cooperate in order to accomplish a specific task. What really sets WSNs apart from all the other kinds of distributed systems is the limited processing capabilities of the nodes, contingent energy restrictions, and their strict dependence to physical phenomena like attenuation, reflection, etc. Under this perspective, the physical environment in which WSN nodes are deployed strongly affects the overall quality of the system. Under this perspective, how WSN engineers currently specify the physical environment and how they would like to do it? This paper presents a survey we run by interviewing WSN engineers with a special focus on their practical needs and activities. By analyzing the collected data, we can conclude that: a) a good number of practitioners describing the physical environment do it by GIS software or informally, b) practitioners not specifying the physical environment do not see a clear return on investment on doing it, c) practitioners rate as (definitely) useful a potential tool for deploying WSN nodes on a virtually specified physical environment.