The BALMON project aims to provide an extensive, well-justified assessment of technologies, services and development needs that will support and enhance the efficiency of water quality monitoring and coastal surveillance activities in the Baltic Sea region.
The consortium's expertise allows specification and implementation of an integrated solution for collection, processing and management of Earth Observation and in-situ data in the Baltic Sea region, enabling efficient information delivery to end-users via commercial and public services. Such an integrated solution allows new services for water quality monitoring and coastal surveillance in the Baltic Sea region to be introduced.
Objectives of the service
The project objectives are the specification and implementation of an integrated solution for collection, processing and management of Earth Observation and in-situ water quality data in the Baltic Sea region, enabling efficient information delivery to end-users via commercial and public services. Such an integrated solution will allow new services for water quality monitoring and coastal surveillance in the Baltic Sea region to be introduced. This concept offers a value-adding service to the relevant organisations and companies in the area.
The Feasibility Study will also highlight specific service value chains for a proof-of-concept to validate critical aspects of the integrated solution.
Users and their needs
The Target Users are organisations such as water companies, sewage companies, dredging companies, port authorities, fish farms and offshore construction companies from countries in the Baltic Sea Region. The target groups will be refined when the economic analysis proceeds, as the service scenario will be emphasized and researched further.
User needs are wide-scale, from governmental institutes to monitoring the environment and waters, to local beaches where families go swimming. Water quality affects everyday life and is also a vital factor in environmental information gathering.
Service/ system concept
Several tens of use-cases, and ~20 measurement techniques will be examined to find the most economic, feasible and usable technologies for the selected purposes. More than a dozen different user groups will be consulted to consider these issues.
Space Added Value
Satellite Navigation (SatNav):
All measurements are location-stamped, using GPS-technology. When Galileo becomes operational it will give additional benefits with improved location knowledge.
Earth Observation (EO):
EO data supported by in-situ measurements can be used to derive a range of parameters relevant to water quality, and together these data types form a complete measurement set.
Satellite Communications (SatComm):
Remote measurements such as ships and smart buoys can use satellite communications to relay their information to the data centres.
The users are expected to gain easier and broader data access to the Baltic Sea region water quality in their selected areas with the sketched Balmon service. Users can be e.g. port authorities, fish farmers, sea quality researchers, swimming beach administration etc. One of the targets was specifically data dissemination, meaning that users can select their own, customized measurements. For the commercial users, like consulting companies which estimate the impacts of shore area constructions, the data portal would be important tool for their impact analysis. For the Baltic Sea researchers, the system would provide extensive archive and NRT data of the water quality development.
The feasibility study also showed in practise the problems of finding a direct business opportunity within the water quality sector; on the other hand, the study also showed what are the real needs in the business, focusing on the data processing and analysis.
The Feasibility Study aims to answer the following questions regarding Baltic Sea water quality and coastal surveillance observations:
- What is the status quo in the field of water quality monitoring services for the Baltic Sea area?
- What are the main gaps and shortcomings in the existing services which could be addressed with new EO / SATCOM / SATNAV based services or techniques?
- What are the requirements for new or improved value-added commercial and public services in Baltic Sea surveillance and water quality monitoring of a diverse group of end-users?
- What is the best way to integrate these services to gain highest added value for end users in an economically viable and sustainable way?
The Feasibility Study aims to find what added value can be achieved by combining existing Baltic Sea monitoring and water quality data including satellite-based EO data, in-situ measurements, SATCOM and SATNAV data. The generic value chain is described in the picture below.
The project team chose a FerryBox system for the key technology concept here. FerryBoxes are a common way to incorporate a mobile laboratory on-board a ship, plotting measurements while on the sea. The chosen technology here includes a near-future specification and development to the system to enable various water quality parameters to be measured, such as nutrition and algae parameters. Emphasis will be given also to the data management and distribution, to enable this Ship-of-Opportunity concept to serve as a data acquisition level in wider systems. Eventually these measurements will be combined with space-based and other in-situ observations to form a complete model of the measured area.
The project team concluded a Final Presentation on 31st January 2014.
The viability analysis confirms that the services add a significant value to existing, but fragmented systems. A common information and data portal will bring together information from numerous sources. Gathering, processing and storing of different data types provide an interesting business case, as do future commercial value-adding services building on a comprehensive Balmon service network.
Users of Balmon water quality information services will gain easier and broader data access than currently available for the Baltic Sea. An objective is to provide efficient data dissemination, meaning that users can select their own, customized measurements. For commercial users, e.g. dredging area water quality analysts and reporters, the service will be an important tool for environmental impact analysis and to create new/own services. The system also provides access to archived observation and aggregated products and data evaluation, e.g. time-series and trend analysis.
This project has been completed. The project team is negotiating about the possible Demonstration Project and its team structure.