The RECONECT Services Platform and the role of ICT to assess NbS performance
Monitoring and assessing the performance and the impact by a Nature-based Solution is an important task to be planned when designing a NbS. On-line sensors and ICT solutions plays hence a big role also in projects dealing with nature and regeneration of ecosystems. In the following it is described how RECONECT ICT team is working to develop and deploy appropriate tools to perform monitoring and evaluation of interventions.
The RECONECT Services Platform is an ICT ecosystem supporting RECONECT Demonstrators and Collaborators in terms of data storage, analysis and visualisation. The RECONECT Services Platform is composed by several building blocks and each block is defined by a product supporting specific NBS processes such as data collection, monitoring, evaluation, modelling, operation and training.
RECONECT’s ICT platform is based on TeleControlNet (TCN), a commercial platform for industrial Internet of Things applications. All RECONECT Demonstrators supply data to TCN, which stores it for the long term in the internal database. The data can be read directly from the sensors, which also makes real-time applications possible, and the collected data can be supplemented with external metadata from third parties, such as weather forecasts. The data is presented in various process/trend/report screens. The TCN user interface is optimized for technical use but it is expected that, within RECONECT, the stored data will also (partly) be made publicly accessible in user-friendly and intuitively operable webpages.
The collected measurement data from all demo sites can be studied and analyzed by experts, and NBS specific applications will be implemented in accordance to specific requests of demonstrators and collaborators coming along the project. The long-term data, collected during the project, can serve to demonstrate the differences before and after the implementation of NBS measures.
In some cases, the data can be used to feed artificial intelligence algorithms. This allows early warning systems to be built. Or if there are control options at locations, for example by pumping or influencing water flows with locks, TCN can also Real Time Control (RTC) these remote locations with a centrally programmed set of “decision rules”.
Other specific applications integrated into the RECONECT Services Platform are:
HydroNET dashboard and crowdsourcing app: it is an expert platform for weather and water data aimed at water professionals. It provides several visualization and analyses tools for weather and water data.
The platform is aimed at professional users (i.e. operational water management) by providing personalized dashboards with relevant information. Within the RECONECT project a dashboard has been created for the Ijssel demonstrator case. These in-situ measurements of water level and flow by TeleControlNet are combined with weather forecast data in order to provide dashboards for the water indicator of the Ijssel case.
Monitoring of NBS can be done with sensors, but also with the help of crowdsourcing (citizen science). In order to facilitate the collection of information by citizens, a simple web-based crowdsourcing application has been developed in RECONECT, where any person can send a photo, a description and a location in a report. This allows any person to log relevant information and hence feed the RECONECT Services Platform with.
Argos-NBS Data Viewer: it allows exploring all the data related with the NBS in a structured way following the organization by pillars (Water, Nature and People), goals, sub-goals, indicators, and variables. Once logged into one demonstrator, the user can explore real time measurements of the NBS monitoring equipment and other sources of information in the area, the calculated indicators for each goal and the NBS general information data. Also compare different scenarios to evaluate the risk reduction and co-benefits of the NBS. The platform allows the users to have a single-entry point to all information regarding the NBS and explore it in a simple and homogenized way.
Measure Selector Tool: it is a web-based tool that can help decision makers to select preliminary measures based on local characteristics. The tool was developed based on the database that have an extensive list of measures for hydro-meteorological risk reduction. From this list, suitable options for a specific situation need to be singled out, six filters are used in this process to narrow down the list of measures.
The RECONECT Services Platform represents one of the main project results. It is accessible by the RECONECT website, with different users’ profiles according to their level of expertise and role in each demonstrator and collaborator. It represents one of the main innovations brought by the project, both in terms of adaptation of existing tools to a different application context, and development of new tools and products form NBS monitoring and performance evaluation.
The RECONECT Service Platform is available at http://www.reconect.eu/services-platform/