CROWDSOURCING TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE MONITORING OF THE COLOUR, TRANSPARENCY AND FLUORESCENCE OF THE SEA

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Nov 21, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

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CROWDSOURCING TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE

MONITORING OF
THE COLOUR, TRANSPARENCY AND FLUORESCENCE OF THE SEA


Wernand, Marcel R
.
1
; Ceccaroni, Luigi
2
; Piera, Jaume
3
; Zielinski, Oliver
4
; the Citclops consortium


1

Royal
Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Landsdiep 4, Den Hoorn,

1797SZ, Netherlands

(
marcel.wernand@nioz.nl
)

2

Barcelona Digital Technology Centre, Barcelona, Spain

(
lceccaroni@bdigital.org
)

3

Unidad Tecnología Marina, Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones
Científicas, Barcelona, Spain

(
jpiera@cmima.csic.es
)

4
Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment, University of Ol
denburg,
Oldenburg, 26111, Germany


(
oliver.zielinski@uni
-
oldenburg.de
)


ABSTRACT

Environmental problems should not be tackled by scientists or policy makers alone. Involving the
general public in observing and understanding our changing world, and encouraging citizen
stewardship for the (marine) environment are crucial elements for a s
ustainable way of facing
current and future problems. The EC
-
funded project Citclops start
s

in October 2012 and is focused
on retrieving, through crowdsourcing, data on three main optical properties related to sea
-
water
quality: colour, transparency and fl
uorescence. Novel technologies will be developed to retrieve
these properties based on citizens’ measurements with common mobile devices.


Concerning water
-
colour, smart
-
phone camera images, taken through citizens’ collaboration, will
be used to calculate
the Forel
-
Ule index for the water body, providing an indication of gross
biological activity.

Water
-
transparency is planned to be measured by three alternative sensor
systems: i) smart
-
phone cameras; ii) low
-
cost moored instrumentation; and iii) underwater
,
wearable cameras with added low
-
cost sensing systems (quasi
-
digital sensors). Obtained ocean
colour and transparency data will complement the long
-
term global data series which go back to the
late
19
th

century.

Finally, to assess the fluorescence of diff
erent water constituents, low
-
cost sensors
and light
-
sources will be customized and connected to smart
-
phones and other mobile devices.


All acquired data is automatically uploaded through a specific service or application (such as
Dropbox or
Google+ Insta
nt Upload), archived remotely and processed, and resulting information is
accessed through a webpage or a mobile application by end users, thus closing the loop to citizens
and policy makers.




Keywords: Crowdsourcing, Environment, Ocean Colour,
Forel
-
Ule, Transparency,
Secchi, Fluorescence, Chlorophyll


1

INTRODUCTION

The status of Europe’s coastal waters and changes in their composition

(water quality)

are subject
of concern. Not only is the absolute amount of nutrients input varying, but there are also changes in
the ratio of nutrients leading to changes in species compositions and bloom timings.
Hyperspectral
water colour

analysis

has been shown to be

a reliable technique to identify several water

components

(Pons

et al.,

2007)
.
Water

quality is a main concern of monitoring
-
agencies and the
public, and it is subject of several European directives and regional conventions. The
Marine Core
Service

(MCS)
is a major reaction of the European Community to this concern, underpinning the
relevance of the marine environment for Europe. As an upstream service it provides relevant data
on the status of our oceans and coastal waters to all interested research and m
anagement
communities in Europe and beyond.


Today, users of water
-
quality parameters derived from remote sensing are mainly national
monitoring agencies
; h
owever, industries operating in coastal waters, such as aquaculture
, the

oil
industry
and
windmill
-
farm constructors
,

are concerned by water quality

too, and some are regular
users of remotely sensed water quality information.

Furthermore
, water pollution and harmful algal
blooms (Hoagland and Scatasta, 2006) can have effects upon the benefits of coast
use for
recreation
,

like
disamenity
effects and public
-
health risks
(Machado and Mourato, 2002).

An active working group on near
-
shore coastal water quality operates within the
global earth
observation

(GEO) and
global earth observation system of systems

(
GEOSS
) frameworks, and the
GEO 2012
-
2015 work plan includes the development of a global near
-
shore
coastal water quality
information system. Key is the statement that “monitoring water quality using remote sensing, in
conjunction with strategic
in
-
situ

sam
pling, is needed to determine the current status of water
quality conditions and to help anticipate, mitigate, and even avoid future water catastrophes”.


Figure
1
. Sketch of
elements of
the
c
itizens' observatory for coast and
ocean optical monitoring

(Citclops)


In this context, a

new European
research
initiative is
a

c
itizens' observatory

for coast and ocean
optical monitoring (Citclops

project
)
(
Figure
1
)
, which was recently
funded

by the European
Commission.
Citclops
will bridge the gap between the local sampling experience and satellite
information.
Additionally, m
aking the connection betwe
en the citizen
s’

observatory and satellite
-
based information will commit the users to the water quality
issue

and will give support to
innovation in space
-
based research and services

(Ratti and Townsend, 2011)
.


2

CROWDSOURCING TECHNO
LOGIES FOR

THE MONITORIN
G OF THE
COLOUR, TRANSPARENCY

AND FLUORESCENCE OF
THE SEA

Crowdsourcing monitoring techniques
, in Citclops,

are

focused on retrieving three main optical
properties related to the water quality of the sea: colour, transparency and fluorescence. These
measurements provide the apparent optical properties of water that can be coupled to basic
biological and physical pa
rameters: chlorophyll
-
a concentration, suspended matter concentration,
concentration of
coloured dissolved organic matter

(
CDOM
)
, presence of floating layers and
underwater turbidity/visibility.
Colour and transparency in water have been measured for a lon
g
period:
colour
through the
Forel
-
Ule

(FU) scale (Wernand, M. R.
, 2012;

van der Woerd, 2010
,

2011) and
transparency
through the Secchi disc (
Wernand, 2010;
Boyce et al.
,

2010; Siege and
Franz, 2010).
Fluorescence
(Moore et al., 2009) is important to detec
t particular substances, such as
contaminants, but no long time
-
series exist in this case.

One of the goals
of Citclops is
to define a methodology for robust estimation by citizens of optical
water quality parameters.
This methodology will include strict
quality control that will ensure that
crowdsourcing techniques provide correct and high
-
quality information.
The
quality control

protocol will be developed in tandem with instrument development.
Figure
2

shows the work
-
package structure of
Citclops
.




Figure
2
.

Core work
-
packages in
the
Citclops
project
and their relations


To
facilitate crowdsourcing and
archiving
,
the public

(the

crowd

) will be
suppl
ied

with an
interface for ‘environmental monitoring’
,
in the form of
on
e

or more smart
-
phone application
s
.

A
n

example

in

shown in

Figure
3
:

the PICaSea

a
pp
, to be developed
.
A
nother example is a

crowdsourcing
application
focused on monitoring swell and length of waves
: b
y using sun glint
(taking a photograph of the sea surface i
nto the direction of the sun
) or the detection of
internal
waves (Jackson, 2007).




Figure
3
.
Initial interface
-
design of
smart
-
phone
a
pp:
PICaSea
.

App

names for lakes
and rivers
will be
PICaLake

and
PICaRiver
)
.
The s
tart screen
(
left
) and the

Forel
-
Ule
screen
(
right
) are shown
.



Usability
is a more important issue for mobile technology than for other
technologies
. Because
mobile applications are often difficult to use, and lack flexibility and robustness, great room for
improvement exists in this area (Wixon, 2011). In this respect, Citclops will explore objective
methods to quantify and improve usability in all s
oftware and hardware developments and for
personalizing
information delivery.

The foreseen widespread, distributed, self
-
maintaining, constantly improving and expanding,
citizen
-
based sensor network is ideal for environmental monitoring, and specifically f
or:



marine
-
environment conditions monitoring on macro and micro scale;



constant monitoring of normal situations (e.g., ice coverage) and abnormal situations (e.g.,
harmful algal blooms, spills) (Adamo et al., 2007);



monitoring of the presence and abunda
nce of organisms sensed through colour, transparency
or fluorescence.




2.1

Water
-
colour monitoring

Novel technologies and colorimetric methods will be developed to retrieve the colour of the sea,
based

on citizens’ measurements, and will complement the long
-
term global
Forel
-
Ule

(
FU
)

data
series that goes back to 1890. In the FU scale,
a palette of 21 colours

is compared with the colou
r of
the water body.
An example of FU index related to Case 1 chlorophyll is shown in
Figure
4
.
Influences of the solar zenith angle, sun glitter at the air
-
water interface, waves and lens effects, and
rapid changes in cloud cover

will be established
and
quality control

protocols will
be written.

Models of the ocean colour indicate that the FU index is a chlorophyll proxy in the open ocean.
Citclops

will develop a method that converts JPG images from smart
-
phone cameras into the
RGB
colour space and into the standard CIE 1931 XYZ colour

space to determine the FU index or simply
use the F
U

colour scale, displayed in the screens’ display, as a comparator scale (
Figure
5
).

Therefore, f
r
om smart
-
phone

camera images the FU index
can be

calculated for
, or compared to
,

a
water body,
and

can
give an indication of gross biological activity. Images will be in JPG format
and will be sub
-
sampled for archiving. Additional information is collected while taking the picture:
geographical position, date and time, and some ID of the phone user (respecti
ng their privacy). The
quality control

protocols will be based on the experience at NIOZ with over ten years of continuous
monitoring with RAMSES spectrometers and laboratory analysis of the water composition.





Figure
4
.
FU
-
num
bers derived from
HydroLight
/
Ecolight
R
RS

spectra. Chlorophyll
was varied from 0.1 to 40

mgm
-
3

with a resulting

FU index

span
ning

from

FU
1 to
FU
10
. Through this

exponential relation

(
which

only holds for Case

1
waters
)

the
chlorophyll concentration can be calculated from
the FU

‘ocean colour’

index
.




Figure
5
. Concerning
the colour of water
, smart
-
phone camera images, taken through
citizens’ collaboration, will be used to either compare or calculate
(RGB
-
colourimetry)

the
F
U

index for the water body, providing an indication of gross biological activity.





Simulations with the
HydroLight/Ecolight

(Mobley, 2011)

radiative transfer numerical model will
be carried out to reconstruct the intrinsic water colour at two pilot sites.

One of the test areas chosen
for water
-
colour monitoring is situated in the western part of the Wadden S
ea Nationa
l Park.
The
apparent colour of the Wadden Sea is situated at the green to brown end of the FU
-
scale (between
15 and 19); therefore, at this test area, the sea colour can be tested and validated at the extreme edge
of the green to brown transition
. In the western Mediterranean the range of colour codes is from 2 to
4; therefore in the
second

test area,
which is located in Mediterranean Spain,
the sea colour can be
tested and validated at the opposite extreme of the scale.


2.2

Water
-
transparency

monitoring

Novel technologies and methods will be developed to retrieve water
-
transparency properties. The
main goal is to determine light
single
-

or multi
-
spectral extinction
coefficients, enabling comparison
with historical data. Based on citizens’ coll
aboration, it is planned to develop sensor systems with
three different
approaches
(focussed on different
user

communit
ies
):

(1)

Smart
-
phone cameras
. Following an acquisition methodology similar to the one proposed in
section
2.1
, a set of Secchi
-
disc pictures (at different depths) will be obtained from citizens
in a particular spot. A dedicated algorithm will estimate the Secchi depth of this particular
location using
the picture data set. The target community in this case will be similar to the
one carrying out colour estimation.

(2)

Low
-
cost moored instrumentation
. A moored system for low
-
cost sensing, based on quasi
-
digital sensors, will obtain irradiance measurements
at different depths. The buoy we
propose to develop will be based on

the Arduino platform [http://www.arduino.cc/] or
similar technology. Arduino is an example of
open
-
source electronics prototyping platforms
based on flexible, low
-
cost and easy
-
to
-
use har
dware and software. With this type of
platforms we plan also to offer hands
-
on workshops inspired by the idea of "
create your own
instruments
", incrementing crowdsourcing capabilities. The mooring will incorporate also a
communication system based on
wirel
ess personal area network
(WPAN) technologies.
The
target citizen community in this case are people involved in aquatic activities such as
sailing, artisanal fishing or sea
-
kayaking, carrying a mobile device with a dedicated WPAN
application. The role of c
itizens in this case is mainly to act as “data carriers” (see
Figure
6
):
whenever they are within the mooring communication connectivity
-
range (
Figure
6
-
1), data
will be automatically transmitted to their mobile devices. The mobile devices will
automatically retransmit the data once they have the po
ssibility to connect to a data centre
(
Figure
6
-
2). A pilot study to demonstrate the viability of this approach will be carried out in
collaboration wi
th a local artisanal fishing association.

(3)

Underwater, wearable cameras with added low
-
cost sensing system
(quasi
-
digital sensors).
The target user community are people involved in underwater activities (snorkelling or
scuba
-
diving; see for example the
Aware
project [
www.projectaware.org
]).
U
nderwater
cameras

with light sources can be attached to diving masks
(see
Figure
7
)
and can

provide
additional

information to the users (e.g., depth, but also light measurements). Dedicated
software will be developed to visualize (and analyse) the images and the sensor data.
Averaging light measurements obtained at the same depths will allow characterizing how
lig
ht changes with depth. With this information it is planned to calculate light extinction
coefficients in the diving location.



Figure
6
.
Example of low
-
cost moored sensor data reception and transmission


The quality control protocols for transparency measurements will be taken from ESA and NASA
protocols. These will be extended with very practical rules, derived from the equations given
by

Preisendorfer (1986), to correct
Secchi
depth for solar zenith angl
e and sun glitter at the air
-
water
interface.



Figure
7
.
Diving
mask with camera and light
-
sources.
Water

transparency

is planned to be
measured by three alternative sensor systems: i) smart
-
phone cameras; ii) low
-
cost moored
instrumentation and iii) underwater, wearable cameras with added low
-
cost sensing
systems (quasi
-
digital sensors).

2.3

Water
-

fluorescence

monitoring

N
ovel technologies, methods and sensors will be developed to retrieve water
-
fluorescence
properties. Fluorescence is the process of emitting light as result of some (in Citclops case, optical)
stimulus. This process can be used to detect and identify materi
als, estimate concentrations, and
provide valuable physiological information for phytoplankton (including potentially harmful
species) and other aquatic materials (including oil and other pollutants).

Citizens will deploy low
-
cost, off
-
the
-
shelf sensors

and LEDs

connected to a smart
-
phone (
Figure
8
) and other mobile devices to take and store fluorescence data. Within Citclops, novel low
-
cost
sensing
systems will be adopted to provide easiness of use to citizens performing fluorescence
sensing of water quality indicators. The interpretation of fluorescence signals from algae are related
to the concentration of chlorophyll
-
a, but other effects have infl
uence on the relation, like the
photochemical/non
-
photochemical pigments ratio, nutrient limitation and photo
-
inhibition. Based
on experience in the laboratory (Peperzak et al., 2011) these influences will be desc
ribed and
protocols for quality
-
controlled
conversion will be provided.


Figure
8
.
To assess the fluorescence of different water constituents, low
-
cost sensors and
light
-
sources will be customized and connected to smart
-
phones and other mobile devices.


3

CITCLOPS
APPROACH

3.1
Citizens’ education and participation in environmental stewardship

A citizen
-
education approach will foster the understanding of aquatic environmental observations
and monitoring, co
-
participation in community decision
-
making and co
-
operative planning.

Experiments and procedures will include interaction within pilot case studies, where initial outreach
activities will be focused. Ways to communicate the monitoring needs and approaches to citizens
and educational institutions will include: field seminars

with hands
-
on science, free educational
posters for schools, content of specific applications and interactive maps.

3.2

Data

interpretation
,

interoperability portal

and
knowledge
-
based systems integration

One of the general goals of
Citclops is to

create a
decision support system

(DSS) that allows and
facilitates the development, implementation and deployment of ecosystem
-
specific computer
-
based
multi
-
scale mod
els in environmental sciences
. A knowledge
-
based system, whose expertise is
derived from special
-
pu
rpose rules, will be developed. Citclops rules will be in part deduced by
new
-
sensor data streams and in part from archived data sets. Rules will reflect the uncertainty
associated with oceanographic knowledge.

With respect to presentation interfaces,
although progress has been made in terms of technological
innovations, there are obvious limitations and challenges for the mobile
-
device interfaces which
will be used in Citclops, due to their intrinsic characteristics (i.e., size of screens, non
-
traditio
nal
input methods, and navigational difficulties) (Coursaris and Kim, 2011).

3.3

Dissemination and standardisation

Citclops

results will be disseminated to all the interested stakeholders through several channels.
Workshops and conferences will be organised to

promote the experiences and project outcomes.
Submission of publications and results to public data
-
repositories will be supported. Necessary
work will be undertaken to position and package Citclops results for successful uptake and
commercialisation afte
r project closure. Dissemination and standardisation efforts will be consistent
with other relevant efforts from cluster partners and other groups. This includes being abreast of
other efforts to develop standards, guidelines, certifications, and monitorin
g systems and
components. For dissemination, Citclops will go beyond the state of the art in a novel
methodological way: through
open house
events
.

M
ethodologies and standards for data archiving

will be established including

a portal for discovery
of
and
access to collected data streams and archived data sets, based upon SeaDataNet
[http://www.seadatanet.org/] standards and principles
.

3.
4

GIS analysis and data
-
layers integration

GIS algorithms
will be developed
and analysis tools
will be expanded
from

traditional, relevant
data
-
sources (including satellite and sensor networks) to crowdsourced data. Data interpretation will
include algorithms to merge knowledge from conventional, existing observing
systems (e.g., remote
sensing images, buoy networks and

other context data) with crowdsourced data. Functionality to
automate the acquisition and integration of third
-
party data will be developed allowing for seamless
interoperability between datasets regardless of their source.
Bouma et al. (2009) have develo
ped

a

clear analytical framework to evaluate the benefits of global earth observation for environmental
resource management and disaster prevention. This was demonstrated in a case study on the use of
satellite observations for Dutch water quality manageme
nt in the North Sea (van der Woerd et al.,
2011).

With respect to interoperability, this will be ensured through the formal use of ontologies
(Ceccaroni and Oliva, 2012) and GIS tools specifically developed to allow cross comparison of
very different sourc
es of data.

3.6
Objectives

The

most import
objectives of the Citclops project
are:

1)

To enable citizens’ participation (crowdsourcing) in capturing environmental (water quality)
data in coastal and oceanic areas through the use of existing devices, such as
smart
-
phones,
as sensors, thus reducing the cost and effort of monitoring.

2)

To develop improved low
-
cost sensors and systems for monitoring water’s colour,
transparency and fluorescence, and use them in combination with geo
-
referencing, an
i
nternet distrib
ution platform and community involvement.

3)

To provide recommendations in sectors such as energy, transport, fisheries, health and
spatial planning, interpreting collected data through artificial intelligence techniques.

4)

To disseminate interpreted informat
ion to two kinds of users: citizens (individuals and
associations) and policy makers (e.g., local administrations).

5)

To produce applied results, developing: new applications for mobile devices; friendlier and
more flexible user interfaces; social
-
networkin
g capabilities to connect citizens and citizens’
associations to policy makers; a better support infrastructure.


4

CONCLUSIONS

Citclops

will develop low
-
cost systems (smart
-
phone cameras and quasi
-
digital optical sensors) to
retrieve and use data on water c
olour, transparency and fluorescence, in combination with geo
-
referencing, an
i
nternet distribution platform and community involvement, inspired by existing
experiences with other applications (e.g., Secchi Dip
-
In [http://www.secchidipin.org], Coastwatch
E
urope [http://www.coastwatch.org/], Oil Reporter [
http://oilreporter.org/
] and Creek Watch
[http://creekwatch.researchlabs.ibm.com]). This new approach will contribute to the global network
of in
-
situ sensors necessary to monitor the environment, complemen
tary to the actions conducted in
the
global monitoring for environment and security
(GMES) initiative. Collected data will be
interpreted and resulting information delivered to
policy makers
to improve the management of the
coastal zone; it will be also de
livered through mobile applications to
citizens
to help them
maximizing their experience in activities in which water quality has a role.


5

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