COPENHAGEN (RPRN) 6/18/2009–How is the water quality at your favourite bathing spot? What do other beachgoers think? What does the beach look like? The European Environment Agency (EEA) and Microsoft environmental information portal ‘Eye on Earth’ shows not only the latest information on water quality but also user ratings and comments, pictures and live webcam streaming.
Every year, millions of Europeans spend their summer vacations by coastal or inland waters. Bathing water quality can be a key factor in deciding where to go. The Eye on Earth application ‘Water Watch’ displays the latest information on bathing water quality from more than 22 000 monitoring points across Europe. For some countries (Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Scotland and Slovenia) the data are from the current bathing season and could be the results of water analyses sampled only days before.
‘Eye on Earth’ allows users to search for a specific beach or zoom in on a given section of a coast or riverbank. The selected area or beach can be viewed both in street map or bird’s eye formats. A ‘traffic light’ indicator (red, amber, green) of water quality provides a user-friendly approximation of national testing results and is complemented by ratings and comments from people who have visited the site. The portal also allows registered users to upload pictures and link to webcams.
The EEA and Microsoft plan to develop the ‘Eye on Earth’ portal by adding new sets of environmental information in coming years.