Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-2 - 31

Fig. 1. Conceptual overview of the past, present and future of technical environmental monitoring, data exchange, processing and reporting.

will go beyond observations of the physical environment to
include living organisms and their interactions within it. Data
will be fused with models to create assimilated "virtual twins"
which will allow for real-time forecasting at the population
and individual levels.
Environmental monitoring encompasses the spatial and
temporal changes in land, water, air, biological, noise, socioeconomic and health and safety data sets. There is a rapidly
increasing demand for environmental management reporting,
ranging from real-time air pollution alerts in cities to annual
forecasts of fish stocks in our oceans. Environmental managers rely on these reports to plan mitigation actions which
reduce the adverse impacts of human activity on the environment over the long-term. However, an opposing trend in
the form of climate resilience now rapidly emerging. Climate
April 2020	

resilience uses environmental monitoring data to reduce the
negative impacts of environmental change on human society.
Research and development by the IM community is therefore
at the frontiers of traditional environmental management as
well as climate resilience. For example, it is now possible to use
cloud computing to automatically generate up-to-date environmental reports using smart sensors connected to the IoT [3].
Ultimately, automated environmental reporting will emerge
which makes use of multisensory data fusion from environmental data streams. An example environmental data fusion
model using assimilation with numerical climate models and
machine learning to improve management reporting is summarized in Fig. 2.
The IoT in its current form encompasses consumer, commercial and industrial categories. Increasingly, sensors for

IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine	31



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