Aim and scope
OBSERVE aims at promoting the use of Earth observation data and methods to monitor environmental conditions in the Balkans.
A competition relevant to this work was announced at the PostGeo Istanbul workshop in November 2011, and the guide for participation was published on OBSERVE’s website. The deadline for the final work was July 30, 2012.
The aim of the competition was to attract environmental scientists at the graduate student, post-graduate, young scientist and researcher levels, and young people from all of the Balkan countries.
The contestants were allowed, after registering at a specific site and providing environmental monitoring data from satellite receivers, to acquire the data and necessary tools to perform the work.
Expected outputs included maps, plots and numerical results describing environmental phenomena, such as locations and levels of air pollution, expected and
unexpected events, detected features and patterns, neighborhood relationships, variations, change rates, and their relationship to the time, season and day.
OBSERVE covered travel and accommodation expenses for the winners so they could present their work in a session of the final event of OBSERVE.
Presentation of the two award-winning papers
The first work, “Analysis of correlation between precipitation and particle pollution (PM10) mass concentration – case study in Slovenia,” by Irena Rojko, a student of the Ljubljana University in Slovenia, presented in a straightforward and understandable way, the correlation and influence of PM10 particles concentration to the weather and environmental phenomena (Fig. 1).
Moreover, Rojko combined environmental data from PROMOTE and other in situ data with cartographic products. The purpose of this study was to verify the hypothesis that increasing the concentration of PM10 particles increases significantly the possibility of precipitation, provided that additional humidity and other weather conditions, such as clouds gathering and appropriate barometric conditions, also exist.
The correlation of data from the PROMOTE site and their combination with real rain conditions confirmed the initial hypothesis. Additionally, the work extracted conclusions that the data provided by PROMOTE are satisfactory but must be calibrated, using final values from in situ sensors, and are not directly linked and must be combined with terrestrial data. The conclusions also are low-resolution.
The second work, “Research of NO2 pollution in Europe,” by students of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, presented a way to perform an immediate georeferencing of environmental monitoring data (NO2) using the NASA program Panoply to demonstrate weather and other environmental conditions in thematic maps.
The work highlighted, in a scientifically sound and easily comprehensible way, the use of Panoply, in addition with commercial software for the composition of maps (Fig. 2).
The award was presented at the first session of the final event and certificates to the winners were handled by members of the evaluation committee Athina Trakas, Vassilios Tritakis and Gotfried Schwarz (Fig. 3).
Petros Patias, OBSERVE coordinator, is a professor and ex-chairman at the School of Rural and Surveying Engineering, The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, board member of the Department of Urban Planning, and Vice Rector at the University of Western Macedonia, Greece. His published work includes six books, four chapters in international books and 161 papers in journals and proceedings.
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