The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) celebrated “World Soil Day” (WSD) on the 5th of December by organising an event entitled: "Artificial Intelligence and Remote Sensing Techniques in Environmental Monitoring - A Pioneering Step Towards the Future.”
Abu Dhabi, 5th December 2022: The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) celebrated “World Soil Day” (WSD) on the 5th of December by organizing an event entitled: "Artificial Intelligence and Remote Sensing Techniques in Environmental Monitoring - A Pioneering Step Towards the Future.” The event showcased the Agency’s efforts to adopt artificial intelligence and remote sensing in soil quality monitoring in the Emirate, to preserve healthy and safe environment, protect the environment and preserve natural resources in Abu Dhabi.
The event, which was held at the EAD’s headquarters in Al Mamoura building, was attended by Her Excellency Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD, His Excellency Dr Nasir Sultan, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Biodiversity and Marine Life Sector at the Climate Change and Environment Ministry (MOCCAE), H.E. Secretary of the Global Soil Partnership and Land and Water Officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Ronald Vargas and Dr. Augusto Becerra Lopez-Lavalle Chief at the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA).
Number of experts at the national and international levels who specialize in the field of artificial intelligence and remote sensing and their applications in the field of environment also participated in the event.
During the event the second phase of the drone project to monitor soil quality in Abu Dhabi, which was launched in 2021 was highlighted, as the scope of aerial surveys was expanded by drone, through which EAD will be able to build the first soil spectral library will be the first in the region.
HE Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, said: “In implementation of the UAE government’s strategy in the field of artificial intelligence in the environmental sector, and in line with the UAE Centennial 2071, which seeks to make the UAE a global leader in all fields, EAD has been keen to take advantage of the latest technologies. These include remote sensing, artificial intelligence, and drones to improve the accuracy and efficiency of soil monitoring and management, facilitating and making field inspections more effective.”
Her Excellency Al Dhaheri stated: “This project will pave the way for a wealth of specialized research to enhance soil quality monitoring methodologies and clean-up solutions and will provide a base for additional research that can exploit remote sensing data and artificial intelligence techniques. It will also contribute to developing tools to protect the environment from space.”
HE Dr Nasir Sultan, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Biodiversity and Marine Life Sector at MOCCAE
It is noteworthy that the project of drones to study the soil is the first of its kind in the region to predict the concentration of pollutants in the soil using artificial intelligence techniques. The project aims to enhance the traditional soil monitoring program by using the latest technologies and producing data with high levels of accuracy over large areas. The programme also aims to build the capabilities of EAD employees in the areas of digital, technical, and scientific excellence through workshops focused on promoting the concepts of remote sensing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
During the second phase of the project, a survey of around 4 million square meters within the industrial lands in the Mussafah area was completed using drones. Several artificial intelligence and machine learning models were also studied, which are considered optimal for the type of data in the project.
The artificial intelligence models recorded different levels of accuracy in predicting the concentrations of soil elements, ranging between 68-90% for the used spectral data set. The Agency is working on developing and training algorithms for artificial intelligence models to increase accuracy, intelligence, and efficiency with the increasing volume of data entered over time.