River Pollutants Monitored with GIS (Analyzing the Environmental Impact of Water Bodies in Russia)

  • GIS-based information medium assessment system analyzes water body quality data.
  • Researchers monitor and visualize pollutant levels through maps, tables, and charts.
  • Data serves as a basis for making ecological and environmental decisions.
A crucial aspect of environmental policy is to review and assess human impacts of all types. GIS plays an important role in achieving this task when monitoring and analyzing the adverse environmental impact on water bodies, such as lakes, rivers, and bays. For example, a GIS can facilitate an evaluation of pollution sources by generating reports and managing data about polluters, results of measurements, reference materials providing classification of hazardous groups, and concentrations of hazardous substances in a specific river or an entire aquatic system. A GIS can also provide the tools to identify the most hazardous contaminants with regard to ecological regulations and contribute to effective decision making to ensure that natural resources are preserved and utilized correctly.
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Data translated into charts shows that the Neva River is polluted with petroleum products, nitrites, and iron salts.

Due to the advanced spatial visualization and analysis capabilities of GIS, researchers at Saint Petersburg Electrotechnical University (ETU) in Russia are able to map and study natural water bodies; their polluters; the source, location, and levels of polluting agents; and the content of the pollutants. Their analysis of natural water bodies and industrial enterprises provides the opportunity to predict the level of industrial impact and study various scenarios to make recommendations for rational use of natural water resources.

For the purpose of its water bodies study, ETU's GIS incorporates databases, models, calculation methods, and directives in the form of an integrated information medium for obtaining integrated data. This system design enables researchers to review and perform the following tasks:

GIS Helps Save a Coastal Plain From Land Subsidence (Japan)

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Three-dimensional land use map of the Saga Prefecture overlaid with land subsidence contour lines.
Saga Prefecture, located in southwest Japan, is a coastal plain with a population of 880,000. Since 1957, most areas of the plain have been subsiding; the accumulative land subsidence value in the plain is 1.2 meters since 1957, and the total area of subsidence covers 320 square kilometers.

This land subsidence has caused many problems such as the increased risk of flooding, building and irrigation pipe system damage, and pumping facility failure. How to confine the land subsidence has long been a sensitive and serious problem for the prefecture government.

The government of Saga and the research group of Kyushu University of Japan have launched a joint investigation research project using Geographic Information System (GIS) to define the regional land subsidence mechanism and to create a simulation model for determining subsidence confinement countermeasures.

Past field investigations have suggested that the land subsidence is caused by large-scale groundwater pumping. At present, yearly groundwater pumping for the whole plain, mainly for the purpose of agricultural irrigation, is more than 10 million cubic meters.