Modern Automation Technologies Professional Magazine


НаименованиеAutomated Systems for Ecological Monitoring: an Integrated Approach


Environmental monitoring in Russia has involved manual processes, which has made it impossible to gather data in real time. The West had addressed this issue in the 1970s using computerized and automated monitoring networks. Five years ago, a Russian company called DIEM formed to apply the foreign experience to the Russian environment.

Our integrated approach to environmental monitoring includes: primary measurements; the collection and processing of measurement data; analysis of the environment; support for decisions affecting the environment; and the dissemination of monitoring results to users. We have implemented enterprise and regional monitoring systems in several Russian regions. This article describes an air quality monitoring system developed for the gas company Astrakhangazprom.

The monitoring system includes a network of automated air quality monitoring stations and a laboratory; a data transmission network that uses radio or telephone lines; a monitoring center that includes a network of IBM PCs for gathering, processing and disseminating the data; and a network of user terminals set up at environmental regulation agencies.

The monitoring stations gather and send data on air quality and meteorological conditions to the monitoring center. The stations also alert the center in the event of emergencies. The stations include "survival," measurement, administration and communications subsystems. The "survival" systems ensure the necessary temperature inside the station (+20 +/- 4 degrees C) and respond to emergencies.

The administration subsystem is based on a PC-compatible computer and performs all the functions for processing data and running the station. The subsystem includes a MicroPC from Octagon Systems with a broad operating temperature range (-40 to +85 degrees C). The system has a 486 processor with 4 MB RAM, a 5710 input-output card, 4 MB M-Systems flash disk, VGA 5420 video card, 5814 floppy drive, VGA monitor and keyboard, all mounted on a 5206 chassis.

The communications subsystem, for radio communications with the monitoring center, includes a Motorola M-120 radio station and a KPC-3 packet communicator from the American firm Kantronics. The system uses the ultra-short wave frequency at 25 watts.

The station's software, which must be able to both control the equipment and process data, was written for the multitasking operating system DESQview from Quarterdeck.

The monitoring center comprises several computing units joined in a local Ethernet network. These units include communications, information processing, archiving and geoinformational. The hardware uses PC-compatibles, with 486 or Pentium processors. Software for the center's systems was written in Borland C++ 3.1. The archive uses FoxPro 2.5.

Overall, the monitoring center constitutes a real-time, distributed information-processing system.

A screenshot of an air quality
monitoring system

An automated air quality
monitoring station

By Sergey Koltypin and Andrey Petrulevich

Sergey Koltypin,  Andrey Petrulevich