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Intelligent environmental infrastructure

To collect real-time data about the lagoon, we are deploying an intelligent environmental infrastructure made of sensors and cam-
eras. An intelligent environmental infrastructure can be defined as the use of smart sensors and IoT to connect and transmit data about the environment in real-time, exploiting intelligent algorithms and protocols. We will use a smart buoy to collect data related to the lagoon water conditions and a platform for accurate volumetric flow measurements in
rivers and canals. In this last case, the AI algorithm runs on a cloud base infrastructure, allowing to send data stream both from
cameras installed in fixed locations and, exploiting citizen science, from smartphones (simply recording short videos).

Smart buoy

A smart buoy system will support the innovative monitoring and modelling efforts that the SMARTLAGOON project will develop by providing high-quality automated measurements of key environmental variables, which can be used to ground truth alternative and less expensive monitoring methods. These data will serve as input providing data to water quality models and can also be used to verify the output of water quality forecasts. Data collected for model input are wind speed, air temperature and relative humidity; meteorological variables that can be expected to be more accurately measured over water as opposed to land-based measurements. Variables that can be used to calibrate and verify water quality modelling are water temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, turbidity and chlorophyll concentration.


The cameras and the Discharge platform

Another important dimension to monitor to understand the condition of Mar Manor is the amount of water that enters the saltwater lagoon through rivers and canals. To better understand the importance of such a measurement, it is possible to cite the catastrophic event that happened in 2019, when a record-breaking flood (locally called the “Cold Drop” (Gota Fría)) provoked tonnes of dead fish due to the subsequent water quality deterioration \cite{caballero2019sentinel}. In order to measure the level, velocity, and consequently, the discharge value,  photrack AG) developed a platform called “Discharge”, able to non-intrusive, optical flow measurement for natural water streams, irrigation, and wastewater channels. The platform is developed as a cloud-based platform for the large-scale acquisition of hydrometric and meteorological data and comprises: i) a mobile Android app, called DischargeApp, freely available on the google play store, and ii) a web platform, called DischargeWeb, to show the collected data. Moreover, the AI model can be used together with cameras deployed in fixed locations to obtain a constant stream of information.

The implementation of DischargeApp in the Mar Menor region was done in three steps. In the first step, potential sites were identified: users located potential sites and uploaded the calculated pixel displacement to the cloud. Then, a selection of sites was made based on the flow velocity (seen from the pixel displacement) and the type of cross-section. Finally, those sites were fully set up for participatory discharge measurements. In particular, right now, we have seven control points fully set up for citizen science activities, plus three installed cameras on fixed positions.