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ECOSIM: Urban Environmental Management

The ECOSIM project builds a model-based information and decision support system for urban environmental management. It integrates data acquisition and monitoring systems, GIS, and dynamic simulation models in a flexible client-server architecture based on standard protocols. Following the first phase of the ECOSIM project (January to December 1996), which developed the detailed project plan, quality and dissemination plan, a range of technical specifications, and the initial ECOSIM Demonstrator Release 0.1, the second project phase (January 1997 to June 1998) concentrates on the implementation of the Demonstrator at the three validation sites Athens, Berlin, and Gdansk.

The main objectives are to demonstrate the integration of a range of distributed information resources including monitoring systems, and simulation models including HPC models implemented on parallel machines, in an easy to use multi-media framework that provides directly useful information in support of environmental planning and decision making processes based on state-of-the art scientific methods and information technology. Integration of information resources, a range of forecasting and simulation tools, GIS and expert systems, and decision support components as

well as their validation in the three case studies are the focus of the second project phase.

The main results with be the generic ECOSIM Server and the underlying generic client-server architecture together with a set of generic and partly specific environmental simulation models, implemented and tested in three case studies covering a range of climatological, environmental, and technological conditions. ECOSIM integrates, through a distributed client/server architecture:

  • data acquisition from environmental monitoring networks,
  • data analysis and visualization tools,
  • a range of numerical environmental simulation models (ranging from very simple, but fully interactive, scoping models to multi-layer forecasting models and ultimately fully 3D dynamic simulation models),
  • a hybrid geographical information system,
  • an embedded expert system,
  • strong visualization components,

all integrated into a common interactive, graphical user interface and implemented in a distributed architecture based on TCP/IP and http.

ECOSIM supports an integrated quantitative and qualitative analysis of the environment in urban and industrial areas across different environmental domains in a common framework. By using a broad range of distributed information resources and existing data bases and models, that support effective environmental planning and decision making, the ECOSIM solution offers a new and efficient tool for urban environmental management.

  • Users involved: Three public authorities at Berlin, Athens and Gdansk will provide day-to-day feedback to the ECOSIM developers and will use the system on their current environmental problems. A larger group of mainly urban authorities will be kept in close contact with the project to ensure its wider appeal.

  • Technologies and/or approach used: Rapid prototyping, object oriented design, and distributed client-server implementation are the main technological features. ECOSIM makes use of high performance computing technology where necessary to provide sufficient power to conduct its complex simulations. The wide range of data and results which ECOSIM will encompass will be managed by a multi-media tool-kit and a Geographic Information System.

  • Expected benefits for the citizen: Successful use of ECOSIM will result in more effective environmental planning within urban areas which, for the citizen, should mean a cleaner environment. ECOSIM will also provide more information on pollution levels of general interest to the public.

  • Expected benefits for the users of the application: Authorities in urban areas will be able to evaluate the effects of industrial and other developments with increased confidence and accuracy. Public investments will be more effective since they will be based on true costs which include environmental impacts.

  • Expected benefits for the European Industries: Further opportunities will be provided for European enterprises to develop advanced environmental support systems which will be applicable to a very wide range of urban areas.

  • Contribution to EU-policies: ECOSIM will contribute to several projects within the Multi-annual Work Programme of the European Environmental Agency. It is also in line with policy on urban areas within COM(92)23 Towards Sustainability.

ECOSIM Validation Sites and City Partners:

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