Finns develop environmental monitoring technology

October 20, 2006

Brussels, 19 October 2006

Finland's Technical Research Centre (VTT) has developed a software framework for environmental monitoring applications which could be used in fields as diverse as the detection of natural disasters and improving road safety.

The system makes use of earth observation data from satellites as well as a range of other sources, including web camera images and other observational records. The applications can be implemented over the internet as distributed systems, so that computers around the world can work together to collect, analyse, store and distribute the information.

The natural disaster system enables the detection of catastrophes such as floods and landslides and can be used to facilitate local rescue efforts.. The forest resource application provides information for the forest industry on tree species and the amount of wood in a given area.

In the transport field, the maritime application will provide ships with up to date information on ice formation in the northern Baltic Sea. A traffic monitoring application will use traffic surveillance video cameras to monitor traffic volume and speed. This information could be used to improve road safety at dangerous crossroads and roundabouts.

The software and prototype applications are currently being tested. Meanwhile work is underway to lay the foundations for a follow-up project which will develop the applications further and enable them to become fully operational. The forestry application is the most advanced, and the researchers hope to launch it in 2007.

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