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Lecture to explore environmental monitoring

Environmental monitoring and hazard detection is crucial but challenging work. New advances in sensors, wireless communication, analysis software, and mapping technologies let us look at the world in new ways. Although these advances can create new opportunities for monitoring and understanding our environment, there are still significant challenges.

Phil Graniero, an associate professor in Earth and Environmental Sciences, will address these issues in a free public lecture entitled “It’s not really about the numbers: Environmental monitoring and what it means” on Wednesday, June 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the café at Canada South Science City.

Dr. Graniero says scientists working in this field ultimately come back to a few key questions:

  • What are we trying to accomplish with environmental monitoring?
  • Do we want more or better data?
  • Do we actually care about the data, or about what the data tell us?

His lecture will start by reviewing what scientists and resource managers try to accomplish with environmental monitoring. He will then show new ways that people bring together sensor networks, environmental data collection, and computer tools into decision support and mapping systems that focus on people, thinking, and problem-solving rather than just on numbers and bytes.

Along the way, Graniero will introduce some of the thorny challenges of environmental monitoring and show new approaches for tackling them. We’ll see how adaptable, flexible monitoring approaches that focus on problems and meaning, rather than just data, can change the way we conduct—and even think about—environmental monitoring for research and management.

This lecture is part of the Science Café series, sponsored by the Faculty of Science, which offers discussion of important science research for the general public. The next event in the series is scheduled for October 17. Canada South Science City is located at 930 Marion Avenue.