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Enterprise Analysis and Management System to Monitor Water Quality

Nate Oscar


The Xiamen Municipal Bureau of Ecological Environment (XMBEE), China, is responsible for improving environmental quality by formulating and implementing national ecological and environmental policies and drafting laws and regulations. Part of their charter is to ensure the attainment of national emission reduction targets in the air, on land and in water.

To accomplish one of its goals, reducing water pollution, XMBEE developed the Platform for Intelligent Environment Protection. It combines advanced enterprise ENVI® image analytics and sophisticated hardware in an interface that provides an intuitive experience for a variety of their users who need rapid results.

By regularly analyzing and interpreting remotely sensed images of important waterways, users get accurate pictures of the concentration and distribution of pollutants in the water, so that focused inspections can be carried out – saving valuable time and resources. By comparing and analyzing the results at different points in time, users can also understand the changing trends in water pollution.

How It Works

Remote sensing is an effective tool for monitoring water when extensive field studies are not feasible. Using remote sensing to monitor water pollution and changes in quality levels can help provide better estimates of water suitability, industrial activities that may contribute to pollution levels and overall environmental health monitoring. ENVI image analysis software contains numerous spectral analysis tools, including spectral indices that are specific to water quality, such as turbidity, chlorophyll, mud levels and more.

ENVI’s advanced enterprise solutions are architected so that users can put the components together as desired to solve specific problems. In addition, an enterprise platform can also support multiple remote workers, which achieved one of the goals of XMBEE.

ENVI supplies the enterprise components and framework, aligning data, analytics and computing power in the cloud. The service architecture and ENVI analysis engines are then used by web clients to access and analyze on-demand remotely sensed data. Responding to customer needs, XMBEE developed their platform to enable users to quickly and conveniently analyze water pollution indicators in remotely sensed imagery and trace the pollution back to its onset, geospatially and temporally.

The Platform for Intelligent Environment Protection is designed in Java Enterprise Edition (J2EE) architecture and incorporates ENVI enterprise components. It automates the online processing of data and derives valuable water quality indicators. Users can then complete complex and specialized remote sensing water quality analysis by completing four simple steps in their web client:

  1. Select an area of interest and the desired analysis parameters
  2. View available images and select the best one
  3. Submit the request to the ENVI enterprise job manager for processing
  4. View the results in the web client interface

The imagery in the platform comes from Gaofen-1, Ziyuan-3, Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8 satellites. Depending on the location and imagery types that are selected, ENVI will perform geometric correction, atmospheric correction, image fusion, image cropping or other necessary pre-processing tasks.

Next, the inland and offshore water environment analysis tasks are selected from the web client interface. The inland water quality indicators and parameters include chlorophyll, suspended solids, transparency, eutrophication, total phosphorus, ammonia nitrogen, water temperature and vegetation coverage information.

The offshore water quality indicators and parameters include chlorophyll, inorganic nitrogen, active phosphate and sea temperature. Some of these metrics, such as turbidity, solids, and vegetation coverage can be derived using ENVI while other metrics are from ancillary XMBEE datasets. The difference between inland and offshore parameters is important because the pollution impacts are most pronounced in inland waters, affecting inland environments, while offshore water environments are somewhat protected by generally clear ocean water.

Once the online processing job is completed, the analysis results are automatically loaded and can be viewed in the web client.

Below is an example of a water pollution incident detected in the XMBEE Platform for Intelligent Environment Protection:

Step 1: Select ROI and desired analytics in the web client.

Step 2: Query the applicable images and select the most appropriate one.

Step 3: Submit the request to the ENVI enterprise job manager for processing.

Step 4: View the analytical results, which are automatically loaded in the web client.

The enterprise analysis depicted in the image below shows a water pollution incident that occurred in June 2019. The color-slice on the map highlights the distribution of phosphorus found using a Gaofen-1 satellite image. The higher phosphorous count in the river is shown as red regions, which are associated with a higher sediment and pollutant load. As a result of this analysis, XMBEE was able to identify the source of the pollution and when it started.

Using imagery to look for unusual sediment discharge, increased nitrogen runoff, or changes in aquatic vegetation, can aid investigations to isolate areas for further inspection. Coastal imagery can quickly be analyzed to look for trends in water quality and results used for health alerts, including beach closures and seafood safety warnings. Inland imagery can help identify industrial activities that may contribute to pollution levels and overall environmental health monitoring from leaks and spills.

ENVI enterprise solutions provide customers with a framework and analysis components that can be put together like puzzle pieces to solve specific problems. End users who may not have a remote sensing background can easily choose inputs and view immediate results. This on-demand information can be shared with colleagues and acted upon.

For more information on enterprise solutions that feature ENVI analytics click here or email geospatialinfo@nv5.com.




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