Smart maintenance of riverbanks using a standard data layer and Augmented Reality

Monitoring riverbanks is essential for maintaining the many ecological services which they provide, ranging from absorbing leached agricultural pesticides to collecting sediment, waste, and other large particulates. A team of eight researchers in Italy came up with a way to more effectively monitor and manage riverbanks by integrating augmented reality into a Geographic Information System (GIS) in 2016. The impact that this technology could have on land management is a dramatic reduction in the amount of time traditionally spent collecting information on riverbanks, which can be quite extensive and resource-intensive to travel to. Cameras installed along key points adjacent to riverbanks connect via the Internet of Things Technology to a cloud-based server for data sharing. Then data is transmitted to a mobile device, like a tablet, and produces what is essentially a dynamic GIS layer. Considering governments and researchers can monitor many long stretches of river in a given territory, saving time means making informed decisions sooner— a benefit to researchers and those who depend on a healthy and stable riverbank. One drawback of this approach to using augmented reality to replace physically immersing oneself in the environment is that one lacks the opportunity to become closely connected to the environment, an issue that other researchers (like those who published “Mobile augmented reality for environmental monitoring”) were explicitly trying to resolve. The use of AR in environmental monitoring appears to be contextual, and not always oriented towards personally connecting with the data and the area: in this case, reducing personal interaction with the riverbank appears to be the goal. 

Veas, Eduardo, Raphaël Grasset, Ioan Ferencik, Thomas Grünewald, and Dieter Schmalstieg. “Mobile augmented reality for environmental monitoring.”

ElSayed, Neven AM, Bruce H. Thomas, Kim Marriott, Julia Piantadosi, and Ross T. Smith. “Situated Analytics: Demonstrating immersive analytical tools with augmented reality.

Lonergan, Chris, and Nick Hedley. “Flexible mixed reality and situated simulation as emerging forms of geovisualization.


Data, Ecological Monitoring, Immersive Technology, Regulation