Cloud computing is the next wave for improved information sharing and more energy efficient computing. Knowing this, Microsoft, The European Environment Agency and Esri have collaborated to create Eye On Earth, a network that uses cloud services from Esri and Microsoft Azure to connect scientists and researchers, and the data they need to better understand our environment. The software was shown off this week at COP 17.
Earth2Tech writes, "While the Eye on Earth network has been under development since 2008, the group launched three services for different types of environmental data at COP 17, including WaterWatch, which uses the EEA’s water data; AirWatch, which uses the EEA’s air quality data; and NoiseWatch, which combines environmental data with user-generated info from citizens."
This kind of tool can provide powerful tools to researchers for tracking our resources such as water, modeling the impacts of human activity such as air pollution, and help policymakers formulate better plans for the distribution of resources and long-term planning for our environment. Eye On Earth notes at the top of the site, "Sharing is everything." They're absolutely right about that. The online sharing of information and collaboration among scientists is the key to faster, and more accurate information.
Eye On Earth states, "It will broaden the thematic spectrum of environmental information by integrating the most prominent environmental challenges of our times, such as ground level ozone and other forms of air pollution, oil spills, biodiversity, and coastal erosion. At a later stage, it will also include additional information providers and link out to other automated environmental monitoring services."
It also includes the use of citizen science, "Eye on Earth makes use of the technological innovations of Microsoft to combine environmental data with geospatial data through Microsoft's Bing Maps for enterprise and to enable the general public to contribute their knowledge with simple communication tools."