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New technology for efficient environmental monitoring from Finland

09.10.2006


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.

Image 1
With the forestry application it is possible to obtain accurate information about the forests' state and characteristics, e.g. the total stem volume of the growing stock.

Image 2
With the maritime application satellite image based information about the ice conditions and their changes is provided to the ships operating in the northern Baltic Sea, especially the ice-breakers.

Image 3
The Internet-application for seasonal change monitoring enables, e.g., countrywide monitoring of the autumn colouring (ruska) progress.

Image 4
Using the traffic application the traffic volume and speeds in the interesting locations, such as intersections and roundabouts, can be determined using for example traffic surveillance video cameras.


 

 

More information

Jussi Ahola
Research Scientist
tel. +358 20 722 4506


Tuomas Häme
Research Professor
tel. +358 20 722 6282