ERCIM News No.39 - October 1999

SIMES - Environmental Multimedia Information System for Sub-Saharan Africa

by Olivier Monga

SIMES is a Research and Development project on information systems dedicated to environmental monitoring systems. It aims at providing a multimedia exchange platform for environment researchers and actors, and to facilitate the dissemination of information produced by the environmental monitoring systems.

SIMES aims at integrating the various tools needed for the acquisition, management, processing and dissemination of full multimedia information related to environment. It is dedicated to environmental monitoring systems dealing particularly with the dynamics of socio-ecosystems, the exploitation of renewable resources, and the impact of human activities on the environment, with a first area of application in sub-Saharan Africa. It will provide a ‘generic information system’ in form of a toolbox to be used by these monitoring systems to implement their own information system. The result should facilitate the networking of all information produced by the numerous research operations and development projects in this field.

SIMES is based on the Web and on Corba and will enable the networking of environmental information and the related processing packages, it will also provide a user-friendly Web interface for the navigation among the networked information and processing facilities. All potential users will thus be able, from a simple microcomputer connected to Internet, to access the available environmental information and to run the related available processing packages. The navigation interface will be based upon the various ‘views’ relevant for the information structure (eg, geographical co-ordinates, chronology, geographic and thematic thesaurus, semantic fields, taxonomic tree, information format, institutions names, etc.).

The system specification documents are available at http://www.ercim.eu/simes, and an interface prototype is available for a pilot monitoring system in Mali.

SIMES will provide a set of integrated tools and a methodology for setting up information systems dedicated to environmental monitoring, including numerous processing packages. Any application aiming at monitoring the dynamics of socio-ecosystems, particularly related to the exploitation of renewable resources or to the impact of human activities on environment, should be natural users of SIMES tools and methodology.

SIMES incorporates numerous pilot applications so as to ensure a pertinent focus for the tools selection and development/tuning, as well as to validate these tools. The first and most advanced application is a monitoring system on the fishing activities run in the central delta of the Niger river in Mali (Observatoire de la Pêche dans le Delta Intérieur du Niger). Two other ongoing applications are in Senegal: ‘Observatoire environnemental de la vallée du fleuve Sénégal’ and the ‘Observatoire démographie-santé de Niakhar’.


SIMES uses for data processing the most advanced techniques in image processing, statistics, modelling and artificial intelligence. Especially, recent Computer Vision Tools are used such as image mosaiquing and registration. These methods enable to registrate and match multi sensor images of a same area: satellite images, aerial images. SIMES is run by a consortium of nine institutions: University of Oxford, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Université de Berne, ERCIM, Ecole Supérieure Polytechnique de Dakar, Université de Dschang, Ecole Supérieure Informatique de Bobo Dioulasso, Institut d'Economie Rurale, CNTIG), lead by INRIA and IRD.


SIMES: http://www.ercim.eu/simes
Monitoring system on the fishing activities run in the central delta of the Niger river: http://www.orleans.orstom.fr/ext/pechedcn/

Please contact:

Olivier Monga - INRIA
Tel: +33 1 39 63 53 01
E-mail: olivier.monga@inria.fr

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