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ICAMS: An integrated coastal analysis and monitoring system for operational application in coastal regions

Type of Entry: Project


The main aim of this project is to provide an integrated engineering and scientific system for routine monitoring of water quality (temperature, turbidity, chlorophyll concentration, and primary production) from satellite data sources and coincident standard surface measurements.


Rationale The European investment in activities centred on the coastal zone is huge. For example, the fisheries sector has an annual turnover of 12 billion ECU and this is one of several industries which is susceptible to changes in water quality, whether naturally occurring or man-induced. Aquaculture and the tourism industry are especially affected by such changes. There are several statutory requirements for routine monitoring of marine water quality (e.g. beach quality) as well as emergency response requirements for this information. The traditional collection of values for information in coastal zones by ground/sea based systems is expensive and time consuming. As a result, the information available to key users is often incomplete and inadequate. With new ocean colour sensors on-orbit and planned, Earth observation (EO) data can play a major part in providing information on water quality parameters. However, several barriers exist to the operational use of EO data in management of coastal zones. Among the problems are difficulty in deriving water properties for near-shore waters which contain many different types of suspended matter, the difficulty for end-users interpreting and accessing satellite data and problems of routine monitoring ocean colour in cloud-prone areas of coast. These barriers can be overcome through the use of an integrated approach using in situ and EO measurements and integrating data over time (assimilation) and providing products and tools designed for end-users involved in coastal management. This would enable EO data to be converted into valuable information for use in coastal decision support systems.


Content ICAMS will develop and test a system capable of routinely providing maps of coastal water quality. There are several key activities to be undertaken in the development of the ICAMS.

  1. User Needs Assessment and Specification - The development of a detailed plan/specification for the project, which takes into account circumstances at the commencement of the project (sensor availability, technology developments) and the opportunity to finely tune the direction of the project in accordance with the strategic needs of potential end-users.
  2. System Development -several phases covering integration of a preliminary system and the development, test and integration of a full system. The latter includes the procurement of buoys for in situ measurements. Key system elements include
    • EO data processing
    • buoy/instrument data communications and processing
    • standard product generation
    • information extraction and analysis system
    • and a web-based information access system.
  3. Trials - Two years of trials at 3 or more sites to provide feedback on the preliminary system and to test the full system. These trials will demonstrate the operational potential of the ICAMS.
  4. Evaluation -a report and workshop which will carefully assess the value of the ICAMS, lessons learned and provide recommendations. Customers Irish Marine Data Centre (IRL) National Centre for Marine Research (GR) United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (Int) Geographic Area SW Ireland. Northern Aegean. Northern Adriatic Plus secondary test sites in Yemen and Egypt.
Keywords: Coastal landscapes and ecosystems, Monitoring and evaluation, Tools and techniques for beach management
Contact: Dr. Graham Bland
Earth Observation Sciences Ltd.
Weydon Lane
GU9 8QT Farnham - Surrey
Telephone: +44 1252 729042
Fax: +44 1252 729001
E-Mail: grahamb@eos.co.uk
Website: www.eos.co.uk
Financed by: European Union