Automatic Data Logging & Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs)

Automatic Data Logging & Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs)

Automatic data logging

GCSE ICT -  VolcanoData logging is used to collect and record data over a long period. The data may be collected by specialist equipment in remote or dangerous area. Volcanologists, for example, may wish to collect weekly temperature changes near an active volcano over a number of years. Another example may be local councils who need to measure traffic flow on certain stretches of road.

The sensor will collect the measurement as often as it has been programmed to do so, send the data wirelessly or along a cable to the data logger (often a small battery operated device) which will then transfer the stored data to a computer for processing and analysis.


  • Sensors can be placed in dangerous and distant locations and record data without risk to human life
  • Less chance of human error.
  • Ensures precise and regular data logging over long periods of time.
  • Can takes measurements far quicker than humans e.g. many times a second


  • Equipment is expensive
  • If it fails it can take a long time to replace
  • May not log exceptional events if it hasn’t been programmed to log data at that time e.g. floods, volcanic eruptions
  • It can be dangerous installing and retrieving the equipment in dangerous locations.


Graphical user interfaces (GUIs)

Most of us use one without realizing it. Windows XP and Windows Vista, as well as Apple OSX, all use GUIs. They enable us to point and click on icons instead of typing out a list of commands. GUIs also enable us to:

  • Change the size of the icon
  • Choose which icons are located on the desktop
  • Choose the pointer we use (most of us use a little white arrow)
  • Open, close, minimise, maximise and resize our windows
  • Use a scrollbar to move up and down a document
  • Adjust the volume
  • Set the date and time
  • Change the screen resolution
  • Change the contrast on our desktop
  • Introduce user restrictions or set up individual user accounts (if the PC is shared)

It is easy to make any of these changes. If you use Windows, for example, you need only click on the Windows icon in the bottom right of your screen, click on Control Panel and here you will find a list of options from which to choose.