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In this paper we introduce the idea of snapshot queries for energy efficient data acquisition in sensor networks. Network nodes generate models of their surrounding environment that are used for electing, using a localized algorithm, a small set of representative nodes in the network. These representative nodes constitute a network snapshot and can be used to provide quick approximate answers to user queries while reducing substantially the energy consumption in the network. We present a detailed experimental study of our framework and algorithms, varying multiple parameters like the available memory of the sensor nodes, their transmission range, the network message loss etc. Depending on the configuration, snapshot queries provide a reduction of up to 90% in the number of nodes that need to participate in a user query.