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A new MAC protocol is proposed for the reachback operation in large scale, densely deployed sensor networks. Referred to as quality-of-service specific information retrieval (QUIRE), the proposed protocol aims to assure QoS requirement with a minimum amount of transmissions from sensors. By enabling only one sensor in a neighborhood to transmit, QUIRE ensures that the data access point receives no redundant information for reconstructing the sensed field within a given maximum distortion (QoS). It jointly minimizes system latency (the amount of time spent for data collection) and total energy consumption (the total number of transmissions from sensors).