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New technology for efficient environmental monitoring from Finland

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a software framework for environmental monitoring applications. It utilises satellite image data. The applications can be used, for example, to detect floods and landslides, assess forest resources, assist winter navigation or enhance road safety.

The concept developed at VTT is based on earth observation (EO) data from satellites and other geographic information. It uses a software framework, which enables implementing novel environmental monitoring services. The software and application prototypes are currently being tested in practice.

Diverse applications in one package

The natural disaster monitoring system developed in the Envimon project expedites the detection of natural disasters such as floods and landslides and serves as a tool for local rescue operations. The distributed system concerns acquisition, processing and analysis of satellite data to manage, refine and distribute disaster-related information.

The forest resource application provides accurate data on tree species and amount of wood to support wood procurement of forest industry.

The maritime application can be used to provide data on ice conditions for winter navigation.

The traffic monitoring application is designed to improve road safety through automated traffic monitoring. The application provides, for example, information for traffic analysis purposes and for improving safety at dangerous intersections,.

Seasonal phenomena, such as the development of ruska (autumn colouring) in northern Finland, may also be monitored through a specific application. The system uses all available data, such as satellite imagery, seasonal changes observed by individuals and Web camera images.

The objective of the applications developed in the Envimon project is to enhance operative environment monitoring in the user organisations. VTT has packaged the computational methods and application logics used by the applications into a common software framework which allows effective and quick development of new environmental monitoring applications. This enhances the quality of the work done in the field and reduces costs both in service development and in implementation. The applications can be implemented over the Internet as distributed systems. Computers around the world can together collect, analyse, store and distribute the information.

Besides VTT, the following parties were also involved in the Envimon project: Stora Enso, Finstaship, the Finnish Maritime Administration, the Helsinki City Planning Department, the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland, Savcor Indufor and Metsähallitus. The project was funded by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes).

A follow-up project concerned with developing the applications further towards operational implementation is currently being prepared. The forestry application, which is expected to be launched in 2007, is closest to reaching this goal.

VTT and RapidEye AG to co-develop together satellite image based services

VTT and RapidEye AG, Leipzig, Germany have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the development and marketing of satellite-image-based products and services.

In the beginning, the co-operation will focus on the use of VTT's method for forest characteristics estimation. The method is already in worldwide operational use with data from several satellites. Co-operation is also sought in the projects of the European Space Agency ESA, for example, to support the carbon trade.

RapidEye will launch five earth observation satellites in 2007. Co-operation with RapidEye will offer VTT access to new earth observation data.

Sirpa Posti | alfa
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