ESIMEAU - Water Resources Management and Modelling in Semi-Arid Areas
by Fadi El Dabaghi
The main objective of the ESIMEAU project is to build an infrastructure of an integrated system to be used as a single decision support system for the management of water related issues. Such an open work platform will embody numerical models and simulators operating on spatial geographic databases, as well as data acquisition and data management tools. The direct beneficiaries are spatial planners and decision makers who will find through such a system, efficient operational facilities in the preparation and the installation of planning and/or emergency measures directly related to water both as a resource and as a natural hazard for semi-arid areas.
The main actions to be addressed are:
- development or integration of tools for the management, analysis and treatment of heterogeneous data (acquired in situ or through satellite images) taking into account the semi-arid climate characteristics (variability, heterogeneity, size)
- modelling and analysis of rapid phenomena such as floods and solid transport or slow scale ones such as eutrophication, erosion, climate change and the development of appropriate numerical algorithms for a better and realistic simulation reproducing the real physical situation of the phenomena under investigation
- integration of these conventionally separately treated application domains into a single application through intelligent interfaces within an appropriate and user-friendly framework.
The architecture of the system to be developed will consist of three levels containing some modules. Modules of general type such as graphics, data base management systems (DBMS), geographic information systems (GIS), shells, simulators, etc.) will constitute a part of the backbone of the system. The other specific modules taking care of particular physical applications (hydrology, hydraulics/hydrodynamics, eutrophication, etc.) will be developed independently. The numerical modules are dealing with the mechanical treatment of eutrophication while only a state of the art on the physical modelling of flood/release risk management occurring in watersheds will be delivered. The three levels of the system are:
- at the top level the ESIMEAU integrator will allow the end user without prior or deep knowledge in computer technology, to access and use in a user-friendly environment all the operational modules data: consultation, treatment, or visualisation, numerical simulation , and post-processing (graphs, iso-curves, thematic maps, etc.)
- at the intermediate level are specific modules for data treatment and numerical simulation/prediction
- at the lower level are located data access, consultation, modification and visualisation interfaces.
For building the architecture of ESIMEAU, general conventional standards tools will be used. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) such as ArcInfo and Arcview, Idrisi; Database Management Systems (DBMS) such as Dbase, FoxPro, Access, Oracle; shells such as CLIPS, KAPPA, KEE; simulators such as, Powersim, Slam, Cellular Automata based systems; integrators such as ArcView, KAPPA, and to a less extent Geonamica, will be considered.
Representation of Spatial Dynamics at Different Geographical Scales
Many environments will generally have at least two strongly linked components, one for macro-level, macroscopic long range and large scale processes (processes at the global level of the region studied) and a second for processes operating on the micro-level, short range, and micro-scale (processes at the level of small sub-sections of the region studied). Models at both levels are tightly integrated and exchange information back and forth through a number of state variables specially conceived for this purpose. It will be supplemented with all the facilities required to be used as a stand-alone application.
The system will be designed and adapted taking into consideration the specifications of its main end-users; ie planners, policy makers, and model builders. The integration of models operating at different geographical and temporal scales, is important to ESIMEAU. A built-in simulation language and associated modelling tools, will ease the implementation and the integration of the models selected. A linkage to commercial GIS packages will facilitate the storage and manipulation of geographical data as well as their integration into a single multi-level model.
ESIMEAU is supported by the European Commission's INCO DC programme. It started in December 1997 and has a duration of three years. Partners are: INRIA; ORSTOM, French National Institute of Scientific Research for Development through Co-operation; FORTH; RIKS, Research Institute for Knowledge Systems, The Netherlands; Ecole Nationale Polytechnique, Algiers, Algeria; Ecole Supérieure d'Ingénieurs de Beyrouth, Lebanon; EUCLID, Lebanon; Ecole Mohammadia d'Ingénieurs, Morocco; Office National d'Eau potable, Morocco; Centre International des Technologies de l'Environnement de Tunis, Tunisia. The project is administered by ERCIM.
Fadi El Dabaghi - INRIA
Tel: +33 1 3963 5343