A3 - Database of Sensors
Intelligent Building


The goal of this assignment is again twofold. You will:

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You're to create a database that contains a variety of sensors that applicable to different building systems, characterizing each sensor in as many different ways as possible, both qualitative and quantitative. To do so you'll have to choose a database tool (see below) and use it to build tables of sensors using different fields to characterize the sensors. You'll link those databases to a page on the course's CMap site.
Database Resources Available to You
Resource Comment
MS Access

Part of MS office for those using Windows. The basic concepts that you'll need to understand are:

  • Tables - create these first
  • Relationships - how tables are related to eachother - always via a unique key field
  • Queries - get the data from one or more tables - use these for all data access
  • Forms - for data input - use queries
  • Reports - produce pretty output - use queries as the input.
FileMaker Costs significant Dollars, but pretty easy to use. Its big advantage in terms of ease of use is that the data entry form can also be the report. You still need to define tables and their relationships.
OpenOffice Base The database component of OpenOffice is essentially a clone of MS Access. It is, unfortunately, somewhat flakey in my experience, but it does work and it's free. It should work fine on a Mac for those of you of that persuasion.
MySQL Far more complicated than any of the previous databases, BUT much more powerful, particularly for web-based applications. Do NOT use this unless you're an accomplished web person and eager to expand your knowledge. You'll need to create your DB on a web server with MySQL capability. You'll probably also need to use PHP to access the DB although you can do so with and ODBC or other connector. Here's a website I created that uses this technology.

Database Requirements

Sensor Definition Requirements

Mounting Requirement

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This project is to be completed individually. You are welcome to consult with your classmates for suggestions - short of direct copying. The grading is on an absolute scale so mutual assistance can only help you.

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The following will be be used to assess your success in meeting the project's requirements. Note that each project will be "weighted" as shown on the grading to determine the overall term grade.

General advice - BE SPECIFIC, you'll only get an average grade if you give generalities without specific numbers, details, examples to back up your generality.

Average Work (approx. 60%)
Excellent Work = Average +
Possible Points

Initial Database 5/2/2006

Initial database file exists

  • at least two tables partially populated
  • at least two queries
  • Relationship between tables established as demonstrated by a query showing data from both
  • OR
  • Document attached to CMap that defines what you tried and what still confuses you. It must have enough detail to be meaningful


Database Exists - due 5/9

  • Two related tables
  • Eight fields/variables
  • 10 records sensors
  • Mounted so it's accessible from the course CMap site
  • More than eight fields
  • More than ten sensors
  • More than two fields


Sensors - Due 5/9

  • At least two addressed Building Systems
  • Both slow and fast response sensors included
  • Quantitative characteristics of sensors
  • Tolerances on sensors
  • Extensive comments on the sensors


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Updated: 4/29/06