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State of the environment . . . in 3-D maps

Article extracted from http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20120131/local/State-of-the-environment-in-3-D-maps.404682  by Claudia Calleja [31 January 2012]

A plane will be scanning the island to build a three-dimensional map that will allow the planning authority to monitor environmental changes over the years.

The photographic map will carry information such as on air and water quality and noise levels. All data will be available online for free, explained Saviour Formosa, who is heading an EU-funded environment project being carried out by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority.

A German company won the tender to scan the island and the plane will fly over Malta over the next few weeks, depending on the weather and visibility.

The scanning is part of the €4.6 million project that involves the monitoring of air, water, soil, radiation and noise.

The map is envisaged to be in place by the end of next year and the plan is to scan Malta every two or three years. This will allow the authority to get a clearer understanding of changes in the country’s landscape. Mepa already uses aerial photographs but the scanning will provide a three dimensional perspective for the first time.

All information collected will be uploaded onto a shared environment information system for all to see.

Dr Formosa said the data will have several uses, apart from serving as a tool for Mepa, and will be helpful for researchers and NGOsin updating nautical maps, for example.

The project is being carried out with the National Statistics Office, the Malta Resources Authority, the Environmental Health Directorate and the University of Malta.

It is part-financed by the European Union under the Operational Programme 1 European Regional Development Fund 2007-2013, – Investing in Your Future.