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New Stage of the Baltic Marine Ecological Patrol in the Light of GeoComputation

VSEGEI - All-Russia Geological Institute,199151, Sredny pr. 74, St. Petersburg, Russia
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Marine Ecological Patrol (MEP) of the Baltic Sea is one of the new kinds of international scientific co-operation ventures initiated since 1990. Conception of the MEP was proposed and worked out in the All-Russia Geological Institute (VSEGEI), the main co-ordinator of this programme. The principle of MEP is based upon monitoring systematic (annual) and complex investigations (measuring) of the main characteristics of the basic geological, hydrophysical, and hydrobiological conditions in key regions of the Baltic Sea.

In the light of the obvious need for a new modern stage of investigations, the latest generation of detailed geological and geoecological (environmental) maps of the Gulf of Finland has been completed as a base for monitoring control.

Recent activities are aimed at creating an MEP web site for a web-based spatial data, knowledge, and ideas representations to present the results of annual investigations and monitoring changes, and to increase international cooperation around the most vital areas of environmental violation of the Baltic Sea bottom.

1. Marine Ecological Patrol

Conception of the Marine Ecological Patrol (MEP) had been suggested and worked out in the All-Russia Geological Institute (VSEGEI) in 1990. The Finnish, Danish, Polish, Swedish and German specialists participate in joint expeditions. At the first stage (1990 - 1999) MEP provided numerous scientific and practical results as an effective system of investigations and control of the conditions, quality and development of the natural environments in the Baltic Sea, based on the working system of the marine geoecological monitoring. Key poligons, profiles and index points of different types (where the geological and other natural environments are closely connected, being guided by both natural evolution and different types of technogenic impact) were determined to priority annual control.

The MEP monitoring contains evaluation, control and forecast of the development of the geoecological (environmental - geological) state of the marine basin, using special set of tests by geomorphological, sedimentological, geochemical, engineer geological, landscape and other criteria. All analysis have been always performed using unified standard and high precision, with tracing and control of the most typical conditions of bottom sedimentation related to the accumulation and migration of such pollutants, like heavy metals, oil-products, radio-nuclides, or biological active substance. Processes of the bottom morphodynamic, and landscape changes were taken under measurement control, if they have been considered as noticeable to the environment. Observations using submersibles were used together with environmental-geological, geophysical, hydro physical and hydro biological complex investigations on board of the research vessel.

Finding, mapping and precise examinations of areas, where the chemical ammunition (bombs and shells) was dumped in the Baltic Sea, can be mentioned among the most important practical results of the MEP.

2. New Stage of MEP

The new stage of the MEP is related with the necessity of completing and updating of the databases with opening the most urgent information to the community. The creation of comprehensive digital Atlases of key areas is considered as important part of the new GIS involving stage, when it is vital to trace environmental-geological (geoecological) changes using a huge amount of data in the regime of operational analyses, overview, forecast and notice.

The creation of the new updated generation of maps covering numerous different aspects of the geology and environmental geology of the Eastern part of the Gulf of Finland is the first short step of conception of joining the MEP with the interactive "Baltic Sea Map Library" (BSML) with permanently updating and further distributed environment via the World Wide Web. Maps, most important data and explanations are prepared for different users, so that it would be possible to choose the level of complexity to inform about the environmental changes not only professionals, but the community.

General map of environmental pollution, bottom sediments

The illustration above shows raster of more clear general geoecological (environmental geological) map, where most dangerous areas are blinking, and different types of hatchures indicate one or other pollution type or special sedimentation zones. Users would be able to read supposed degree of risk and kind of danger by clicking on map areas.
On the other hand, special professional maps and databases are planned to locate separately. For example, fragments of such maps (originally produced using the MapViewer and Didger packages of the Golden Software Corporation) are shown below.

Quaternary sediments

Geological Map

Different Java-based and other types of arrangements are tested to obtain the most simple and fast data access, even using slow modem connection.

Major spatial data are prepared in .shp, .mif, .bna, .gsb, .dxf formats to enable downloading and offline work in different GIS software packages either.

It is planned to use all possible ways of communications to open scientific discussions and to get feedback from people of the Baltic region in the form of information of the known cases and possible areas of the environmental violation, or on-line voting to choose priority tasks, etc.

We hope that a web-based data arrangement with the results of annual investigations and monitoring changes, as well as knowledge exchange, and ideas representations will increase international co-operation around the most vital areas of environmental violation of the Baltic Sea bottom.


We gratefully acknowledge Vadim Paka and Nadezhda Medvedeva, the Academy of Science of Russia for excellent co-operation. To all Universities, Research institutions, other organisations and persons of different countries participated in the MEP since 1990 we offer our sincere thanks.