Microsoft Windows Azure - Eurpean Environment Agency bring Revolutionary Data To Citizens Case Study
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Microsoft Windows Azure - Eurpean Environment Agency bring Revolutionary Data To Citizens Case Study

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Microsoft Windows Azure - Eurpean Environment Agency bring Revolutionary Data To Citizens Case Study Microsoft Windows Azure - Eurpean Environment Agency bring Revolutionary Data To Citizens Case Study Document Transcript

  • Windows Azure Customer Solution Case Study Environment Agency’s Pioneering Online Tools Bring Revolutionary Data to Citizens Overview “Microsoft has pushed us to the cutting Country or Region: Denmark Industry: Government—Energy edge of technology. It has given us the and environmental/Nonprofit courage to position ourselves as a more Customer Profile innovative public service, making a positive The European Environment Agency (EEA) aims to provide difference at a time of climate change.” reliable and timely information An agency of the European Union, the European on the environment. The EEA is a key information source for Environment Agency (EEA) provides independent policy makers and the general and reliable information on the environment for public. policy makers and the general public. The agency Business Situation is working towards raising environmental The agency is working towards raising environmental awareness across Europe by delivering easy-to- awareness across Europe by understand information about a number of delivering easy-to-understand information about water and air environmental topics—among them, water and air quality and encouraging citizens quality. It also encourages citizens to contribute to contribute their own observations. their own observations about the environment around them. Working with Microsoft, it Solution The Eye On Earth application is developed the Eye On Earth platform, based on based on “cloud” services the Windows Azure “cloud” services operating operating system Windows Azure and Bing Maps for system. Users can view water or air quality from Enterprise. Citizens can view or the 32 member countries of the EEA, using high- contribute to water and air quality data anywhere in definition Bing maps. The EEA has also launched Europe. the Environmental Atlas of Europe, which features Benefits stories told by eyewitnesses about their first-hand • User-friendly interface experiences of climate change. Both solutions • Better-informed choices • Increased agility can help broaden awareness of the impacts of • Beneficial partnership environmental change and help people in Europe • New opportunities make better-informed choices about their
  • “Using this information, we can increase monitoring and awareness of environmental factors, adjust and improve our lifestyles, and, Situation information—including data on At a time when environmental greenhouse gas emissions, air ultimately, make a concerns dominate global policy quality, water quality, and and media, and affect the daily biodiversity—into its strong statement lives of individuals, the European “environmental observatory.” to policy makers Environment Agency (EEA) brings Jacqueline McGlade, Executive relevant and timely information to Director of the EEA, explains: that air and water the fingertips of citizens. “The organisation is also extending its work towards quality really Established in 1990, and based in sectors such as agriculture, matters.” Copenhagen, the EEA is an forestry, energy, and transport, executive agency of the which have a big effect on the Jacqueline McGlade, Executive European Union (EU). The environment. The EEA can Director, European Environment organisation collects communicate with the public, Agency environmental data across 32 using quality data that would European countries: Austria, otherwise be difficult to acquire,” Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech she says. Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, With the aim of helping policy Greece, Hungary, Iceland, makers develop relevant and Ireland, Italy, Latvia, effective policies, the EEA not Liechtenstein, Lithuania, only looks at environmental Luxembourg, Malta, the statistics and trends, but also Netherlands, Norway, Poland, collects feedback from Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, individuals. McGlade says: “We Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, show people’s own Switzerland, Turkey, and the neighbourhoods and encourage United Kingdom. This data is used citizens to gather more data to develop and implement themselves.” environmental policy and is a crucial resource for almost 600 Through the use of latest million citizens across the technologies, the EEA wanted to continent. make key information about water and air quality across The European Environment Europe easy to access, while Information and Observation giving them the tools to develop a Network (Eionet) is the EEA’s more effective response to network of 600 partner climate change. Bert Jansen, organisations, which include Technology Lead, EEA, says: research institutes, universities, “Our mandate clearly states that ministries, and agencies. The EEA we should inform the general cooperates with additional public in the EU, and technology agencies such as the World is the only way to reach half a Health Organization and various billion people effectively.” non-government organisations to meet its goals. Using this The challenge is all the more network, the EEA can gather poignant because European
  • “We chose citizens have become WaterWatch was first launched, increasingly sensitive and we had an initial 65,000 people Windows Azure responsive about changes to out of several 100,000 visitors their local environment. From a contacting the site to interact because it offers technical point of view, the with and record data about their us more flexibility increased demand for information local water resources,” says raised a number of issues, not McGlade. than any of the least the fact that the organisation’s Web site, which Rather than stop there, the EEA other technical hosted its on-premise servers, sought to include air quality solutions that are were nearly at capacity. information in the application. “Many thousands of people available…With this Solution across Europe suffer from In 2009, the EEA launched a breathing disorders—from slight technology, we can pioneering application to make its problems to severe asthma. For respond to large- environmental observatory them, air quality really matters accessible. Eye On Earth is the and can be a matter of life or scale peaks in outcome of a long collaboration death. It can help them determine with Microsoft. The two-way the safest times to leave their communication platform gathers homes to avoid dark smog, and critical information from a variety where they should go,” says of sources in one place, and McGlade. allows citizens to take a more active role in the exchange of AirWatch uses the European Air information through its dynamic Quality Index, provided by and user-friendly Web site. scientists. Jensen explains: “We describe air quality through three Stefan Jensen, Head of Group, key substances—ozone, Information Services at the EEA, particulate matters, and nitrogen explains how the first component dioxide. There are 6,000 of Eye On Earth—called monitoring stations across the 32 WaterWatch—makes use of countries, including 1,000 that bathing water data from 22,000 provide frequent updates and sites that countries deliver in 300 that deliver hourly updates accordance with European displayed in Eye On Earth.” legislation. “In the past, this data has been limited to expert As with WaterWatch, citizens’ systems,” he says. WaterWatch input forms a large part of the was also inspired by the public’s AirWatch tool. Easy-to-use concern about bathing water features help individuals to report quality. McGlade says: “People their perception of air quality in a are passionate about the water particular location and the results quality at the beaches they visit.” are displayed alongside the Within Eye On Earth, citizens can official data on the site. look at the official data on water quality, and contribute their own The architecture rating of that location. “When
  • “Everyone can Eye On Earth is supported by environmental data into the “cloud” services operating mapping technology with ease. participate, system Windows Azure, which works seamlessly with the Data is fed into Microsoft SQL independent of existing infrastructure, and helps Azure—a cloud-based database their device. The developers quickly deploy new service built on Microsoft SQL features. The service-based Server data management tools are architecture and cloud operating software—every hour. The system provide the same level of powerful database supports rapid accessible to reliability as an enterprise data retrieval of information, making it people with centre, but offer greater agility, possible for Eye On Earth to ensuring it can very quickly scale process and deliver data in real Windows to meet rapid growth in data and time. In addition, the Microsoft traffic. This makes Windows Silverlight 3 browser plug-in computers using Azure the ideal technology for the delivers a seamless media Internet Explorer Eye On Earth application. “We experience, providing users with chose Windows Azure because it highly interactive features and and the Firefox offers us more flexibility than any Deep Zoom functionality. of the other technical solutions browser, that are available,” says Jensen. Determined to make the Macintosh users application as interoperable as For WaterWatch, the EEA possible, the EEA offers a with the Safari experiences peak demand during Microsoft ASP.NET version of the the summer months as people application. “Everyone can browser, and plan their holidays and seek participate, independent of their information about the water device,” says Jensen. “The tools quality at their destinations. are accessible to people with Hundreds of thousands of citizens Windows computers using access the application during its Internet Explorer and the Firefox busiest periods, and demand is browser, Macintosh users with growing rapidly. AirWatch users the Safari browser, and people are also likely to be increasingly with Linux machines.” interested in ozone levels in summer when air circulation is In addition, a short message more stagnant due to the warmer service (SMS) aggregator—called weather, trapping toxins and mBlox—was also incorporated pollutants. Jensen says: “With into the system to support this technology, we can respond access information on mobile to large-scale peaks in demand.” devices. Jensen says: “With Eye On Earth, we want to reach the Bing Maps for Enterprise public first and foremost. provides high-resolution satellite Microsoft technologies provide us images and aerial photography with flexible, reliable solutions across Europe and beyond. And that make that possible. The it’s easily customised, so the addition of the SMS aggregator agency can incorporate its enables greater mobile use of Eye On Earth and provides
  • citizens with immediate feedback location is entered on the screen by way of text message about and the application recognises factors such as air and water not just any city or town within the quality.” As well as receiving 32 countries, but also far more information by SMS, mobile phone specific map locations, such as users are able to query current streets and buildings. In an environmental data readings, instant, the application can zoom such as air quality, for a desired in to an aerial image of a location location. and show its official air and water quality ratings. For example, air Says Jensen: “It’s a software- quality will show as very good, plus-services solution because very bad, or levels in between, we’re acquiring software for our and that information is supported common development, and by columns that display ozone we’re using a service levels, nitrogen dioxide, particle construction that is also provided matter, and carbon emissions. outside the European Combined ratings from individuals Environment Agency.” for that location are also shown for air and water quality results. Benefits With Eye On Earth, the EEA brings Another feature captures the most advanced environmental feedback history and displays modelling to citizens across information in the form of Europe, and encourages them to coloured markers on the map. participate. The data is made Users can also see all the available to other interested AirWatch and WaterWatch parties such as urban traffic stations, or select a specific control, tourism, or healthcare location—zoom in to a close-up systems—helping organisations image of a building, for example, and citizens work together to and drag and drop a push-pin address climate change, using onto that building to view the air data that has never before been quality data instantly. If the available on such a scale. individual rates the air quality of McGlade says: “Using this that location, he or she can see information, we can increase the system instantly update itself monitoring and awareness of with the new information. environmental factors, adjust and improve our lifestyles, and, “Participation of the public is so ultimately, make a strong important to the EEA that we statement to policy makers that have also integrated instant air and water quality really connectivity to social networking matters.” sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Windows Live Spaces, Feature-Rich and User-Friendly Interface allowing people to share Inspires Citizen Involvement information quickly and easily,” Eye On Earth will be available in says Jensen. 25 European languages. A
  • “This technology Data Helps Citizens and Communities paying only for capacity that’s Make Better Choices used. gives people the By providing the public with such local and timely information, the And, by taking advantage of power to EEA believes that it will help Microsoft data centres to house understand their citizens make decisions that can data from the EEA in the cloud, improve their lives. Those with Windows Azure also reduces the environment… health issues can choose need for investment in hardware appropriate holiday destinations, and computers that would Armed with the or even use the data to raise otherwise remain idle. McGlade facts, 600 million awareness of conditions in their says: “Cloud computing ensures communities. we can be more adaptable.” This people in Europe is a welcome departure from the Jansen says: “This technology often restrictive server can influence the gives people the power to framework and the costs and environment in understand their environment. resources associated with They can look at the air quality in keeping it running seven days a which they live.” their gardens or the water quality week. “This includes the costs of at the beach where they want to electricity to run the servers, and swim. Armed with the facts, 600 recycling the hardware after it million people in Europe can has exceeded its life span. After influence the environment in all, we need to be aware of our which they live.” own carbon footprint too,” says McGlade. Agile Technology Helps Organisation Manage Application Use Jensen agrees: “Thanks to The services-based model and Windows Azure, we can be more cloud operating system help EEA flexible regarding the number of minimise infrastructure users. Another significant overheads. They offer a more advantage is that we don’t have agile environment that has helped to provide the whole IT the organisation deploy environment for the application.” WaterWatch and AirWatch in a matter of months. Environmentally Focused Partnerships Strengthen Vision The needs of Eye On Earth users Working with Microsoft Services, vary throughout the year, and, the EEA has delivered an consequently, load patterns innovative application quickly and fluctuate. Windows Azure helps efficiently. “Microsoft has pushed the organisation manage that us to the cutting edge of load efficiently, giving developers technology,” says McGlade. “It and service managers the ability has given us the courage to to scale up and down seamlessly position ourselves as a more without complex operational innovative public service, making procedures. The flexible Windows a positive difference at a time of Azure pay-as-you-go model also climate change.” helps the EEA to save money by
  • “With Eye On The agency is also open to learning more about the personal inspiration from other interested stories behind climate change, Earth, we want to partners. “We encourage visitors can also post messages organisations or communities to and give feedback. reach the public join us because everyone can first and foremost. bring new depth to our vision. Our Jansen says: “We go out and strength lies in data and speak with people who are either Microsoft Microsoft delivers innovative directly affected by climate technology—but there’s always change or have solutions to technologies room for new influences to help climate change. For example, we provide us with us create an even more powerful speak with reindeer herders in solution,” says Jansen. Lapland, and ask them how the flexible, reliable New Opportunity Extends Climate Change melting of the Arctic ice cap Message affects their lives. But we also solutions that make In 2009, the EEA started a want to tell positive stories, so we that possible.” partnership with the United speak with people in the Nations Environment Programme Netherlands who have built Stefan Jensen, Head of Group, and the European Space Agency houses that float up and down, as Information Services, European to create a new channel for the water level rises and falls.” sharing the message of climate change across Europe. Built For the EEA, telling stories and using the existing Eye On Earth connecting communities is far solution, the Environmental Atlas more useful than providing raw of Europe examines the impact of statistics. The Atlas stories told climate change across different by eyewitnesses across Europe regions, and the work to reverse help citizens understand how the the damage to the local global environment is shifting due ecosystem. to climate change and inspire them to take action and make a Atlas features stories told by difference. eyewitnesses about their first- hand experiences of climate Jensen says: “The European change and how their Environment Agency now has one communities are coping. of the world’s leading McGlade says: “Users can repositories of environmental access Atlas through Eye On data, and, through the power of Earth. They can pinpoint and software and technology, the Eye select stories from locations On Earth and Atlas solutions have shown on Bing maps, zoom into turned powerful information into the local area, see individuals action. We’re also looking to the telling their stories, and explore future and we plan to use ways in which environmental Microsoft Surface so citizens can change is affecting other parts of interact more deeply with Eye On that region.” The Atlas solution Earth and Atlas. Thanks to both of includes a full suite of multimedia these solutions, we can play our assets such as video, interviews, part in helping everyone to and photography. As well as contribute towards a cleaner
  • For More Information environment and a sustainable Windows Azure For more information about future.” Platform Microsoft products and The Windows Azure platform services, call the Microsoft provides an excellent foundation Sales Information Center at for expanding online product and (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call service offerings. The main the Microsoft Canada components include: Information Centre at (877) • Windows Azure. Windows Azure 568-2495. Customers in the is the development, service United States and Canada who hosting, and service are deaf or hard-of-hearing can management environment for reach Microsoft text telephone the Windows Azure platform. (TTY/TDD) services at (800) Windows Azure provides 892-5234. Outside the 50 developers with on-demand United States and Canada, compute and storage to host, please contact your local scale, and manage Web Microsoft subsidiary. To access applications on the Internet information using the World through Microsoft data Wide Web, go to: centres. In addition, Windows www.microsoft.com Azure serves developers’ connectivity needs through For more information about the the following services. European Environment Agency, • The Service Bus connects visit the Web site at: services and applications www.eea.europa.eu across network boundaries to help developers build Additional Resources: distributed applications. Download: • The Access Control Service Windows Azure Tools and SDK provides federated, claims- View: based access control for Architecting and Developing for Windows Azure REST Web services. • Microsoft SQL Azure. Microsoft SQL Azure offers the first cloud-based relational and self-managed database Software and Services • Technologies • Microsoft Server Product − Bing Maps for Enterprise Portfolio − Microsoft Silverlight 3 − Windows Azure − Microsoft ASP.NET − Microsoft SQL Azure − Microsoft Surface service built on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 technologies. This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published December 2009
  • To learn more about the Windows Software + Services Azure platform, visit: Software-plus-services is an www.windowsazure.com industry shift driven by the fast- growing recognition that combining Internet services with client and server software can deliver exciting new opportunities. Microsoft is dedicated to helping individuals and businesses take advantage of these opportunities. By bringing together the best of both software and services, we maximize capabilities, choice, and flexibility for our customers. The broad software-plus- services approach unites multiple industry phenomena including software as a service, service-oriented development, and the Web 2.0 user experience under a common umbrella. For more information about software-plus-services, go to: www.microsoft.com/softwarepl usservices