On 7 and 8 of November, the IMPEL Cross-cutting Tools and Approaches Expert Team ran a conference on the advances in the use of technology in environmental and regulatory monitoring hosted by the European Environment Agency (EEA), in Copenhagen.
Speakers from nine competent authorities from around Europe delivered presentations about their latest technological developments, highlighting not only their achievements but also the barriers they had to overcome and the lessons learnt in the process. The aspiration of the conference was to show how embracing new technology helped optimise ways of doing daily activities with the aim of being more effective and efficient. Delegates came from a range of organisations including national ministries, environment agencies, inspectorates and regional and local regulatory organisations as well as a representative of the EU Commission.
Presentation topics covered a wide range of topics including :
- Earth Observation from satellite images including from the Copernicus programme for water classification, land and atmospheric issues.
- Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to identify invasive species.
- On-going developments in sensors, automatic measuring stations and automatic field instruments for monitoring air and water emissions.
- DNA bar coding for fauna and eDNA for fish species detection.
- GPS tracking of waste and 3D measurements of waste to help tackle illegal activities.
- Mobile applications specifically developed to help inspectors in the field.
- Data analytics used for selecting inspection targets with the assistance of an algorithm.
- Development of an end-to-end system that included several customised dashboards and analytics for inspections of farms and fields that saves time and money in the battle against diffuse pollution.
- Several case studies in a number of environmental detection and enforcement activities, e.g. inspections of landfills, ships, maritime surveillance, nature protection, cooperation with firefighters, police and other authorities when necessary and the development of a comprehensive country wide drone program.
Those present agreed there was need for further collaboration to support developments and to stop each organisation having to waste time and resources “reinventing the wheel” individually. IMPEL aims to continue to be an enabler in this area by supporting cooperation and the sharing of knowledge.