EEA and the Eye On Earth Project
On June 20th 2012, in the presence of Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt, sustainability legend Gro Harlem Brundtland, IPCC Chair Rajendra K. Pachauri, EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard and 150 VIP guests at Rio+20, Eye on Earth has been chosen for the prestigious SUSTAINIA 100 list of solutions. For more information, you can visit: http://www.esri.com/news/releases/12-2qtr/eye-on-earth-honoured-as-a-top-sustainable-solution-at-rio20.html
Information technology plays a crucial role in enabling EU environmental policy goals to become a reality. The Eye On Earth project is another example of Microsoft providing technology solutions that are innovative as well as interoperable, to address societal needs.
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Air and water quality is an important issue for Europeans as it impacts both our health and the environment. However, many of the technologies used in environmental monitoring differ from region to region, thus producing a centralised information centre is a considerable challenge.
Microsoft and EEA have worked together on the Eye On Earth project. This system uses the latest interoperable technologies to seamlessly combine different devices and technologies.
- Clear up to date information available to all citizens
- Improves the accessibility of environmental data for Europeans
- Policy makers now have a measurable tool to focus on improvements
With the Eye On Earth project, Microsoft is helping the European Environment Agency (EEA) simplify the complex tasks of collecting, processing and disseminating complete and relevant environmental quality information to all citizens and governments.
“It’s good to see continued innovation and a commitment to interoperability through cross browser support from the EEA," said James Governor, Redmonk Industry Analyst. "SMS support dramatically lowers barriers to access for environmental quality information for 500 million EU citizens."
The European Environment Agency (EEA) is an agency of the European Union, tasked with collecting environmental data across 32 European countries (the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey) and providing an independent source for environmental information. This information supports EU institutions and EU governments in making informed decisions about improving the environment, integrating environmental considerations into economic policies and moving towards sustainability. It is also a crucial resource for Europe’s 500 million citizens who want to be informed about the environment.
Supporting EEA’s mission through the Eye On Earth project, Microsoft is working with interoperable technologies to ensure that information can be distributed to citizens using mobile devices.
With the size and diversity of the European Union, collecting and disseminating up-to-date and locally relevant information in all countries is a considerable undertaking. EEA set out with the Eye On Earth project, in partnership with Microsoft, to develop the most complete, functional, and accessible system possible. The technologies of multiple devices and systems must work together seamlessly. And the data must be accesible by all citizens, using all types of devices and software.
EEA’s Eye On Earth project is designed to:
Collect current data from 22,000 water monitoring points in 27 countries (including historical data collected over the years ) and 1,000 air monitoring stations in 32 countries, and integrate it with historical data collected over the years
Collect and integrate real-time feedback from any interested citizen, for the first time giving citizens the opportunity to supplement EEA data directly by reporting their own observations
Utilise its legacy systems, including a system for modelling air quality (using Linux technology), combined with Microsoft’s advanced and scalable cloud computing solutions (Windows Azure and SQL Azure) solutions to assemble and process data in massive volumes
From mid-December onwards, provide useful and timely information on the site in 24 languages, available to all citizens using any type of device or browser to connect to the site
The following data gives a more detailed view of how the Eye On Earth project must use different sources of information, different technologies, and different channels of distribution to carry out the EEA’s mission.
Collecting and processing data for Eye On Earth:
The EEA collects air data in one of two ways:
- Directly from the monitoring stations across 32 countries.
- Through the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) who provides an air quality model based on five different air quality models and calculates in real-time air quality index based on Ozone (O3), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and particle matter (PM10)
EEA’s computer system sends data to a Windows Azure Data Centre such as Microsoft’s Dublin Data Centre where the Eye On Earth application and the “Geo-observatory Data Store” are hosted
Public access to data from Eye On Earth:
Air and water quality data is available anyplace, anytime
Eye On Earth uses advanced Microsoft technology and an interactive map of Europe to provide a rich user experience with the web site, and the site allows users to add items onto their view of the map surface
The Eye On Earth site will be accessible through the variety of web browsers Users can view and query Eye On Earth for air quality at any time and any place via their mobile phone and in their local language
The Geo-Observatory is able to send users text message updates providing information on local air and water quality data.
For more information visit Eye On Earth at: http://www.eyeonearth.eu/.