Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Managing an ocean of information to monitor coastal environments

21.12.2004


Europe’s coastlines are exposed to risk of pollution. I-MARQ’s prototype Geographical Information System (GIS) delivers detailed information on coastal water quality, helping decision makers shore up defences by taking appropriate action against contamination.



A recent Communication from the European Commission highlights some of the issues the IST-funded i-MARQ project aims to solve: “Our coastal zones are facing serious problems of habitat destruction, water contamination, coastal erosion and resource depletion,” states the European Commission’s report on ‘Integrated Coastal Zone Management: a Strategy for Europe’. “Given the coast’s critical value and its potential, these problems must be solved. And, as many of the problems of the coastal zone have a European dimension, the response must include action at the European level,” it continues.

This is where I-MARQ steps in.


As project coordinator Dr Jonathan Williams of Marinetech explains: “These trends create a rapidly growing demand for solutions, comprising the ability to process high volumes of raw data; to extract high quality information; and to present it in a form which maximises usability, understanding and decision-making.”

I-MARQ will estimate and forecast several important factors affecting water quality. These variables include the amount of suspended sediment in water (often accompanied by waste), water temperature, run-off from land that may bring pollution, salinity, dissolved oxygen, nitrate levels, chlorophyll (algae) and microbial risk.

A tide of information

Growing numbers of distributed sensor networks (DSNs) will create problems of data management: such networks can be used to create a spatially rich data resource. In a marine context, large numbers of drifting buoys have been deployed in major programmes such as the international Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). Further developments in low-cost sensor technologies (e.g. biosensors) and durable fixed sensor platforms will stimulate a proliferation of DSNs for management of marine and coastal waters. Converting large data volumes into succinct information within a decision support context is thus becoming a definite challenge.

A critical feature of i-MARQ is its ability to integrate water quality data from a multitude of different data sources, using a technique called ‘data fusion’. “This technique allows different types of data, ranging from those sensed by buoys or hand-held instruments to data obtained from satellite images, to be used in estimating water quality,” says Williams. “In light of the new European Bathing Water Directive, such a system is paramount, since public administrations need to be able to forecast water quality with greater accuracy so that action can be taken to ensure publically-accessible water quality remains above a certain level at all times,” he adds.

“The [I-MARQ] system could be used for compliance monitoring of coastal and estuarine waters,” explains Williams. “For example, a civil servant in a national agency concerned with water quality might notice that sensors reported continuing abnormal fluctuation in dissolved oxygen levels in an estuary that do not correlate with natural land run-off. This would enable local management teams to mobilise in order to test the area of concern. Once tested and having confirmed the i-MARQ GIS system’s findings, the inspection team could then focus their effort on local industrial processes which could be responsible for the run-off.”

I-MARQ explained

The i-MARQ system is composed of two sub-systems. The Meta Information System is the infrastructure which communicates with the data sources to find out what inputs they have for the GIS system. It is exceptional in its field since it is fully scaleable, and after launch, users will be able to freely add new data sources and processing models to amend the network of sensors and therefore improve data quality.

The other part of the system is the Fusion Engine which updates the GIS and information on water quality. The data then feeds a dynamic GIS configured to supply a variety of end-user markets. The application of data fusion techniques permits forecasting of parameters, by combining latest measured values with the statistical characteristics of historic datasets. It also tracks the uncertainty of those forecasts. This determination of information robustness is considered an essential ingredient of advanced environmental decision support systems.

The UK’s Environment agency and the Portuguese Instituto da Água (INAG) are planning to trial a cut-down system, and i-MARQ is currently validating the full version using historic data. The i-MARQ team will then pilot the full system in the Solent and at two locations on the Cote D’Azur in the New Year.

In addition the project team have been contacted by other possible users. Says Williams: “The system can be used by a range of other users such as beach-side hotels to predict bathing water quality and diving schools to forecast underwater visibility.”

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

25.09.2017 | Trade Fair News

Highest-energy cosmic rays have extragalactic origin

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>