- About Flying a Drone
- About Data Format
Environmental Quality Monitoring
- About Environmental Sensing
- About iScan
- About iMonitor
- About iAssess
About Environmental Sensing
What is Environmental Quality Monitoring and why do I need to do it?
Environmental quality monitoring is about understanding the quality of our residential environment. This is of great importance to ensure our family and children are well protected. A good quality of the residential environment will make it more attractive and healthier to live, work and invest in. On the other hand, the degradation of the environment, through air pollution, poor structural conditions, climate change, etc., may have negative impacts on human health and well-being.
To understand the quality of our environment, the first step is to quantify the impact by monitoring and measuring it with the environmental sensing tools.
For example, to know the quality of the air, we measure the fine Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5). If more than 35 µg/m3 of PM2.5 is detected within a day, the air quality is deemed to be unhealthy for sensitive groups and we should avoid having outdoor activities for our family.
Another example is to monitor the road conditions and slope stability of a hillside area. We measure the temporal change of the road or the slope over a period of time (say, 3-6 months). Through our proprietary technology, we can detect subtle ground movement in the order of mm resolution.
This comprehensive data will allow us to quickly analyze the quality of our residential environment and make prompt actions for short-term and long-term countermeasures.
What types of Environmental Indicators are commonly used?
Environmental indicators are a set of numerical values that track the state of the environment over a period of time. Examples of commonly used environmental indicators include rainfall, earth surface temperature, humindity, air particular matter (PM), ozone (O3), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
Environmental indicators can be measured and reported at different scales. For example, a city may track the air quality along with the water quality and count the number of rare species of birds to estimate the health of the environment in their area. In another scenario, people living in hilly residential areas may track the variations in rainfall patterns and its impact on slope stability and soil erosion.
What are the major Environmental Issues that have direct impact to us?
Our environment is constantly changing. Among the major threatening environmental issues that have direct impact to us are: Global Warming, Air Pollution, Floods, and Landslides.
What are the Air Pollutants and why we should care?
Air pollutants with the strongest evidence for public health concern are particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
Both short and long-term exposure to ambient air pollution can lead to reduced lung function, respiratory infections and aggravated asthma. According to reports from the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is the cause of over 34% of deaths from stroke, lung cancer, and chronic respiratory disease, and 27% of deaths from ischaemic heart disease. The combined effects of ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution cause about 6.5 million premature deaths every year. Today, an estimated 92% of the world’s population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds WHO safety limits.
Is the Environmental Quality Monitoring a requirement by-Laws?
Environmental Quality Monitoring is not a requirement by-Laws. However, it is a cautionary measure that allow us to quickly analyze the quality of our residential environment and make prompt actions based on the most up-to-date information.
What is i-Environ?
i-Environ is an intelligent environmental sensing and analytics solution for monitoring the quality of residential environment. It provides a convenience way to access environmental indicators such as air quality, weather data, slope and road conditions, which are relevant to residential communities.
There are 3 service packages under i-Environ: iScan, iMonitor, and iAssess.
For more information, please visit i-Environ.com
What is iScan?
iScan is a service package under i-Environ, recommended for residential communities who are interested to know the detailed information about their surroundings, such as:
Topographic Survey - Accurate and geo-tagged topographic drawings of your premises and surroundings with features represented by contours, texts and symbols.
Land Subsidence Detection - 3D profile of road surface with accurate detection of land subsidence and other defects of the surroundings.
Exterior Building and Structure Inspection - High resolution photos of roof tiles, building walls, and other readily accessible areas by drone. Structural defects (if any) will be highlighted with measurements.
For more information, please visit i-Environ.com
What is the equipment used during the inspection? Would it cause any inconvenience to the residents?
All that we need is to fly a small drone (< 20 kg) during the day of inspection. During the drone operation, it is expected to generate certain degrees of noise. But the noise pollution is generally much lower than noise produced by a typical construction work. Further, the duration of inspection is typically less than an hour.
How fast we can get the report for iScan?
iScan includes 3 types of inspection work, namely (1) topographic survey, (2) land subsidence detection, and (3) exterior building and structure inspection (optional).
After the drone operation, a full inspection and quality report will be issued within 2 weeks.
What is iMonitor?
iMonitor is a service package under i-Environ, recommended for residential communities who are interested to know the detailed information about air quality and weather status of their surrounding environments.
The parameters to be monitored in real-time includes air quality (PM2.5, PM10, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide), and weather conditions (rainfall, humidity, and temperature).
For more information, please visit i-Environ.com
What is the equipment needed for iMonitor? Would it cause any inconvenience to the residents?
For air quality and weather monitoring, a measurement instrument called the Environmental Quality (EQ) station will be installed inside the residential area. The EQ station is about the size of a typical outdoor electrical panel box (approx. 500 mm x 350 mm x 100 mm).
The installation work (including power cabling and system setup) will take less than a day. The environmental data will be sent to a secure cloud server through wireless link. No noise will be generated during data acquisition and monitoring.
How different is the data received from iMonitor, as compared to the readily available data from online?
There are some readily available weather forecast and air quality dataset online. Most of them are using Satellite data and statistical analysis to predict the environmental conditions at a global scale. The spatial resolution is typically about 10 km or more, and the data is not real-time.
By subscribing to iMonitor service, a measurement instrument called the Environmental Quality (EQ) station will be installed inside your residential area. This EQ station will continously collect real-time air quality data (PM2.5, PM10, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide) and weather data (rainfall, humidity, and temperature) of your surroundings at a much accurate and timely manner than any available dataset taken from online source.
What is PM2.5 and why we should care?
PM2.5 refers to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that has a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, which is about 0.03 the diameter of a human hair. Fine particulars can come from various sources, such as power plants, motor vehicles, residential wood/leaves burning, forest fire, volcanic eruptions, agricultural burning, and dust storms. Particulars in this category are so small that they can only be detected with an electron microscope. Since they are so small and light, fine particles tend to stay longer in the air than heavier particles. This increases the chances of humans inhaling them into the bodies.
Particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers are able to bypass the nose and throat and penetrate deep into the lungs and some may even enter the circulatory system. Studies have found a close link between exposure to fine particles and premature death from heart and lung disease. Fine particles are also known to trigger or worsen chronic disease such as asthma, heart attack, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
In 2013, PM was classified as a cause of lung cancer by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It is also the most widely used indicator to assess the health effects from exposure to ambient air pollution. On a very clear and non-hazy day, the PM2.5 concentration can be as low as 5 μg/m3 or below. The 24-hour concentration of PM2.5 is considered unhealthy when it rises above 35 μg/m3.
What is Ozone and why we should care?
Ozone is aninorganic molecule with the chemical formula O3. The ozone layer at the higher atmosphere (in the stratosphere) is beneficial, preventing damaging ultraviolet light from reaching the Earth's surface.
However, low level ozone is an atmospheric pollutant. It is not emitted directly by car engines or by industrial operations, but formed by the reaction of sunlight on air containing hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides that react to form ozone directly at the source of the pollution or many kilometers down wind.
It is well documented that ground-level ozone can harm lung function and irritate the respiratory system. Exposure to ozone (and the pollutants that produce it) is linked to premature death, asthma, bronchitis, heart attack, and other cardiopulmonary problems.
Long-term exposure to ozone has been shown to increase risk of death from respiratory illness. A study of 450,000 people living in United States cities saw a significant correlation between ozone levels and respiratory illness over the 18-year follow-up period. The study revealed that people living in cities with high ozone levels, such as Houston or Los Angeles, had an over 30% increased risk of dying from lung disease.
What is Nitrogen Dioxide and why we should care?
Nitrogen dioxide or NO2 is a nasty-smelling gas. NO2 primarily gets in the air from the burning of fuel. NO2 forms from emissions from cars, trucks and buses, power plants, and off-road equipment.
Nitrogen dioxide is a major air pollutant because it contributes to the formation of photochemical smog, which can have significant impacts on human health. NO2 inflames the lining of the lungs, and it can reduce immunity to lung infections. This can cause problems such as wheezing, coughing, colds, flu and bronchitis.
Increased levels of nitrogen dioxide can have significant impacts on people with asthma because it can cause more frequent and more intense attacks. Children with asthma and older people with heart disease are most at risk.
What I should do if the air quality is at unhealthy level?
When the air quality is at unhealthy level, take the following steps to reduce exposure and protect you and your family's health:
Stay indoor and if possible, close all windows and openings to stop polluted air from entering.
If available, turn on an air purifier that is equipped with a HEPA filter. High Efficiency Particulate Air, or HEPA air filters are usually made of fiberglass. They are 99.97% effective at removing particles as small as 0.3 microns.
If available, turn on an air conditioner to circulate air and cool down room temperature.
When most or all windows are closed, do not burn candle, incense or operate devices that emit smoke or gas to prevent harmful particles and gas (such as carbon monoxide) from building up.
If you must drive, get an air purifier for your car that comes with at least HEPA and activated carbon filters.
If you must go outdoor, make it short and quick, and wear a N95 or higher face mask. (“N95” means it can filter at least 95% of particles that do not contain oil)
If the air pollution is expected to last for many days, consider moving to an unaffected location.
What is iAssess?
iAssess is a service package under i-Environ, recommended for residential communities who are concerned about the potential environmental risk surrounding them. The service includes:
Slope Assessment - Initial site investigation and topographic survey of the slopes, borehole logging (if applicable) and soil samples collection for slope stability analysis.
Slope Monitoring and Early Warning - Real-time monitoring of slope stability and ground movement, early detection of potential threats, early warning system setup and risk assessment reporting.
Recommendations for short-term and long-term countermeasures.
For more information, please visit i-Environ.com
Why do we need to monitor slope stability?
Every year, over one million people are exposed to weather-related landslide hazards around the world. The assumptions made in the civil structural design may not be able to completely model unpredictable events such as typhoon, heavy rainfalls, floods, landslides, terrain subsidence, earthquakes, and glacier avalanche. In some cases, it may lead to catastrophic failures.
Due to the recent climate change, it is likely that the decrease of permafrost areas, changes in precipitation patterns and increase of extreme weather events will influence the weather-related mass movement activities. In Malaysia, for example, annual rainfall can reach as high as 4500 mm. This combined with year-long high temperatures causes intense chemical weathering and formation of thick residual soil profiles, which in certain locations can reach 100 m in depth. With these set of climate and geological conditions, combined with other causative factors, landslides are thus one of the most destructive natural disasters.
In viewing of these, periodical monitoring of slope stability before the accident event, would allow a hazard-management framework to be implemented, minimizing loss of life and property, as well as to provide useful data for preventive assessment.
Are there many landslide-prone areas in Malaysia?
The Malaysian Public Works Department (PWD) has identified 21,000 landslide-prone areas throughout the country, out of which 16,000 or 76% are in peninsular Malaysia while about 3,000 are in Sabah and 2,000 in Sarawak.
About Flying a Drone
What is drone?
Drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), is an aircraft without a human pilot on board. Drone is a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which include a UAV, a ground-based controller, and a communication system between the two.
What are the categories of drones?
In general, there are 3 categories of drones:
Small drone for fun, having total takeoff weight of not more than 20
Small drone for commercial use (e,g, to undertake any form of surveillance or data acquisition), having total weight of not more than 20 kg
Drone having total weight more than 20 kg
Can anyone fly a drone?
Generally speaking, the answer is NO. An authorisation or permit is required from the respective regulatory bodies before flying a drone. However, most of the countries allow you to fly a small drone if you can comply certain rules. (Please refer to your local laws)
In Malaysia, for example, you can fly a small drone without authorisation, if
Your drone is less than 20 kg and the flight is at the height of not more than 400 feet (approximately 120 m) above the surface of the earth,
You are satisfied that your flight can safely be made, and
You can maintain direct and unaided visual contact with your drone sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircrafts, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions.
Can I fly a drone for surveillance purposes?
A small unmanned aircraft which is equipped to undertake any form of surveillance or data acquisition is classified as small unmanned surveillance aircraft. Authorization from DCA is required to fly a small unmanned surveillance aircraft in any of the following circumstances:
Over any designated area (means any area which is used for residential, commercial, industrial or recreational purposes)
Within 150 m of any designated area
Over any assembly in the open air of more than 1,000 persons
Within 150 m of any assembly in the open air of more than 1,000 persons
Within 50 m of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft
Within 50 m of any person
Within 30 m of any person during take-off or landing
Who is DCA and what does it do?
DCA, or Department of Civil Aviation, is the lead agency for all flights and airspace operations in Malaysia. The DCA is established in 1969 as an agency under the Ministry of Transport (MOT) Malaysia to provide safe, efficient and orderly flow of air transportation, and to regulate aviation activities in Malaysia.
For more information, please visit: www.dca.gov.my
Where I can't fly a drone?
In Malaysia, UNLESS an authorisation is obtained from DCA, you can't fly a drone:
in Class A, B, C, or G airspace
within an aerodrome traffic zone
at the height of more than 400 feet (approx. 120 m) above the surface of the earth
[For other countries, kindly refer to your respective department of civil aviation]
What are the penalties for not applying for a license before flying a drone?
where the person is an individual, a fine not exceeding RM 50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both
Where the person is a body corporate, a fine not exceeding RM 100,000
Is there any training available to fly a drone?
Through our associate training partner, we offer a full range of training programs including introductory courses for UAV operator and advanced professional courses for selected industries, such as aerial photography, precision agriculture, search-and-rescue, traffic monitoring and analysis, construction and site inspection, mobile telecommunication inspection, oil and gas inspection and more.
For more information, please visit: airworks.com.my
About the Data Format
What is Photogrammetric Map?
Photogrammetry is a technique of making measurements from photographs, especially for recovering the exact positions of surface points. With this technique introduced to drone technology, we are able to get a more accurate terrain map.
What is Orthomap?
An orthophotomosaic is a raster image made by merging orthophotos — aerial or satellite photographs which have been transformed and corrected such that they appear to have been taken from vertically above at an infinite distance. An example of orthomap is Google Earth image.
The digital map representing an orthophotomosaic with additional information such as a title, north arrow, scale bar and cartographical information is called an orthophoto map or simply, orthomap. Often these maps show additional point, line or polygon layers (similar to a traditional map) on top of the orthophotomosaic.
What is Point Clouds?
A point cloud is a set of data points in certain coordinate system. In a three-dimensional coordinate system, these points are usually defined by X, Y, and Z coordinates, and often are intended to represent the external surface of an object. Point clouds may be created by 3D scanners.
What is Contour Extraction?
Also known as border following or boundary following, contour extraction is a technique that is applied to digital images in order to extract their boundary.
What is Digital Surface Model (DSM)?
DSM measures the height values of the first surface on the ground. This includes terrain features, buildings, vegetation and power lines etc. DSM therefore provides a topographic model of the earth's surface. DSM can be used to create 3D fly-throughs, support location-based systems and augmented simulated environments.