How Environmental Technology can Benefit from Big Data

Why is data becoming increasingly critical for professional environmental technology? Within many areas, analyzing large volumes of data plays an important role, including weather and climate monitoring data.

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How Environmental Technology can Benefit from Big Data

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Data must be gathered, evaluated and archived. To achieve these processes within a reasonable time, so-called ‘big data systems’ are being utilized more frequently. However, what does “Big Data” mean? What must be considered during implementation, and can environmental protection benefit from it?

What Exactly Does “Big Data” Mean?

“Big Data” generally describes vast volumes of data that is too extensive, too complex, and too fast-moving to be processed using conventional methods. In turn, the term also refers to all modern computing solutions that are capable of handling large amounts of data.

The “Big” in Big Data refers to speed, size and bandwidth in terms of data volumes. Bandwidth refers to the multitude of data types and sources, whilst speed denotes the amount of data that can be transferred over a given period.

For example, in environmental technology, complex computer models form the most important basis for an appropriate analysis of the data output from meteorological sensors, in-situ observations, and other external data sources.

Why is this Topic Becoming More Important, Particularly in the Field of Environmental Technology and Environmental Protection?

Big Data has huge potential in environmental protection, with great benefits to other sectors, too, such as financial and logistics. Shipping is a good example of this context: if a shipping vessel leaves its home port, the system can forecast the ship’s arrival time and notify the port of destination.

At the destination port, appropriate preparations could be taken so that once the freight arrives, it can be unloaded as quickly and easily as possible.

However, if the estimated arrival time was delayed, for example, if there was bad weather, this information will be forwarded directly to the destination port. In this instance, a smooth and especially fast process is guaranteed, meaning resources such as fuel could be saved.

A typically sized ship with common dimensions can save more than 150 tons of diesel per hour if it is only half-powered.

What Opportunities can Big Data Bring in the Field of Environmental Technology?

In environmental technology, Big Data solutions can be used to optimize both the acquisition and analysis of important environmental data. Intelligent weather sensors and modern data acquisition systems can record an array of environmental data globally and transfer them in real-time to suitable locations.

For example, precipitation sensors can measure the amount of moisture on the surface of a road. The condition of the road is also closely monitored. If the system makes observations beyond critical values, it immediately forwards a warning using smart measurement technology – this can significantly improve road safety.

Analysis using snow depth and cloud sensors is also an important field of application in meteorology.

How can Environmental and Climate Protection Benefit from Big Data?

Smart weather sensors have not only been used for weather forecasts but also in air, rail and road traffic, where this data is of significant importance. Another interesting application in environmental technology is the analysis of air composition.

As a result of smart environmental measurement technologies, such as that from Lufft, data on air moisture and the pollutants it contains can be generated and stored. These systems are also used for room climate measurements. They are also being applied more regularly in large cities to determine the nitrogen oxide or CO2 content.


Big Data has numerous advantages. There is particularly great potential for application in traffic safety. Traffic safety on the roads, as well as in the air and at sea, can be greatly improved by increasing the processing ability of large volumes of data.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by OTT HydroMet.

For more information on this source, please visit OTT HydroMet.


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