Resource Data

Business intelligence, built from open data

The volume and diversity of data, coupled with today’s rapid scientific progress and technological development, have paved the way for new water management and sustainability. UNESCO’s International Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI) is working to provide the water sector with an online water observatory using open data sources on water-related events , including flooding or water contamination.

The platform was built at the Jozef Stefan Institute in the Republic of Slovenia. Part of the European Commission’s Smart Water project NAIADES, which supports the digitalization of the water sector in Europe, the Water Observatory is the result of a collaboration between experts in water technology and actors in the water sector. Recently made available to the public, the resource includes a variety of interactive data visualization dashboards configured to broadcast topics and events around the world.

The platform is an AI-based system that provides users with different views depending on the nature and scope of data they are looking for.

A view, titled “Indicators”, shows the evolution of several water-related measures over time, through an animation presenting global indicators. The view also shares curated open source data on regional insights on topics and metrics of interest.

The “Media” view shares a global news feed, as well as a Twitter feed. The feeds are based on multilingual text mining technology, configured to identify specific water topics useful for awareness raising and best practices. A user can also filter their feeds to specific locations, topics, and other metrics.

A “Resources” view can share historical and current geographic data – from local weather to water levels to potential climate change impacts. The platform also helps users explore published scientific papers and technology patents. It searches over 126 million articles and then shares trends or insights on similar topics.

Different uses for different users

The Water Observatory has been designed to accommodate the myriad workflows and priorities of stakeholders in the water sector. Water resource managers use the information generated by the platform to understand how their actions are perceived by consumers and to explore success stories for similar cases.

Local policy makers can use the system to support evidence-based decision-making, helping them to better align with European directives such as Sustainable Development Goal 6, and to assess commitments over time.

Because the platform’s data visualization modules are open to the public, it can also be used in schools to supplement education on water sustainability, or by concerned citizens wishing to stay informed on related global topics. at the water.

In general, continuously feeding the platform with water-related data can help stakeholders gain a broader perspective on their own water resources and feel better prepared for future challenges.

Real world apps

Continuous observation of water-related events can help water sector actors develop a broader perspective on their own water resources and use, and how to properly address certain water-related events. water.

Over the past two years, the NAIADES team has worked with the public water companies of the coastal cities of Alicante in Spain and Braila in Romania, as well as the municipality of Carouge in Switzerland, to develop their platform. They were able to steer the platform’s data management directly towards the group’s top priorities for wastewater and water contamination.

Because the Water Observatory’s data management system is so flexible, the NAIADES team hopes that further discussions about user priorities will help them continue to refine the data that the platform presents.

For example, the team collaborated with the UNESCO Chair in Water-Related Disaster Risk Reduction to build a global landslide observatory. This platform will offer data specifically adapted to floods and associated water events, extrapolated from the initial design of the Water Observatory.

In Carouge, the municipality wishes to improve its use of water and promotes responsible water consumption as part of its commitment to the sustainable use of natural resources. For this municipality, the Water Observatory can be an excellent tool: it can highlight the importance of water management, highlight problems with a direct local impact (such as groundwater contamination due to agricultural waste or scarcity due to drought), and explore similar challenges and solutions shared by other cities.

Like the surrounding region, Carouge receives most of its drinking water from Lake Geneva, one of the largest freshwater reserves in continental Europe. Downstream of the lake, its water is crucial for the lives of millions of people living along the Rhone to the Mediterranean Sea: for agriculture, drinking and cooling water. For this reason, water contamination is a significant concern.

The Water Observatory can find countless biomedical articles on specific contamination problems and similar scenarios, while presenting reliable solutions. The platform’s published research review capabilities can also be easily filtered and adjusted: moving a target through automatically generated subtopics can reorder or narrow search results.

Users also benefit from similar exploration through news articles – allowing the user to estimate the impact of the issue based on similar events occurring in other parts of the country and around the world, while viewing historically similar events in Carouge.

Another example of the NAIADES Water Observatory is its specific uses for wastewater monitoring and modification. The platform’s social media views can be configured to see all current water spill and flood events, and can set up alarms based on the strength of public responses.

Data-centric services, like the Water Observatory, can greatly improve business intelligence. For the water sector, this data is a vital resource for preparedness, outreach and outreach. WW

About the author: Joao Pita Costa works as a senior researcher for the UNESCO International Center for Research on Artificial Intelligence and as a project manager at Quintelligence. His work currently focuses on the application of informatics to areas of public health.

Posted in water world review, March 2022.