Many phenomena in our environment are extremely complex and cannot simply be captured via sensors. Additional field observations are often indispensable. This project uses two case studies to examine how sensor data and field observations can be combined and evaluated.

Lay summary

Understanding complex phenomena in our environment requires more than capturing and analysing large quantities of data via sensors. Additional field observations are often indispensable. By means of two case studies, we will combine and conduct an integrated evaluation of, first, sensor data that is limited in terms of accuracy, and, second, field observations that are precise but often only selectively available. In the first case we will develop a dual recording system of this type in order to carry out a comprehensive analysis of soil erosion events in the Alps. In the second case we will integrate pre-existing sensor and field observation data to gain a better understanding of the mass movement of migratory birds.

The aim of the project is to develop processes for collecting, combining and evaluating comprehensive sensor data and selective field observations. Two case studies will (a) achieve a better understanding of erosion processes and (b) improve the forecasting of spatial and temporal migration patterns of bird species. 

Developing new methods of recording, integrating and analysing heterogeneous data streams and selective field observations will lead to new knowledge in the environmental sciences. The first case study will improve our understanding of alpine ecosystems, which are of great relevance to biodiversity and the water balance. The second case study will enable us to use better knowledge of annual bird migrations to answer questions about the responsible use of wind energy and how migratory birds spread diseases.