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The dissemination of data costs much energy in wireless sensor network. In this paper, we incorporate a data gathering method which groups sensor nodes into clusters and gathers data efficiently. Considering characteristics of data in sensor networks and the good properties of wavelets, we further propose to compress sensor data at cluster head using wavelet transform and a novel threshold technique with bounded error. The analysis and experiment results show that our methods can compress data and gather compact data with efficiency. Besides, they exhibit significant conservation of energy cost at both node and network- level as a result of reduced data transmission overhead.