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Digital Tech Revolutionises Singapore’s Earth Observatory

Image credit: prod.earthobservatory.sg
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The Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) opened the first of four new stations that will make it easier to track changes in the height of Singapore’s land and sea levels. The new Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) station was set up on Lazarus Island and aims to get information from several satellites and send it back to EOS.

With this, researchers can study and predict changes in the height of the land and the sea around the island. This helps make it easier to track and understand how the sea level is rising in Singapore. Also, the EOS Centre for Geohazard Observations (CGO) set up and took care of the station to help with the EOS study on tectonics and climate.

Emphasising the significance of digital technology, particularly satellite technology, has contributed to understanding and monitoring land subsidence. It enables remote sensing, accurate measurements, geospatial analysis, real-time monitoring, data sharing, and the creation of early warning systems.

Professor Emma Hill, Chair of the Asian School of the Environment and Principal Investigator at EOS, said that research shows that land-height changes can be significant and variable across the region, which affects local sea-level rise; and they need more stations to capture this variability and monitor both land-height and sea-level changes on a local scale.

Scientists and people in charge of making decisions can use digital technology to better understand how land sinks, find places that are at risk, and take steps to protect communities and infrastructure.

Further, the EOS wants to put the second station in Punggol. The third and last location has yet to be decided. As part of an agreement signed in June 2022 between EOS and SLA, the sites will be added to the Singapore Satellite Positioning Reference Network (SiReNT) of the Singapore Land Authority (SLA).

The team has already put up two GNSS stations in Taiwan, and it will keep looking for new places to improve EOS’s ability to track tectonic action and climate change in the area.

Further, digital technology makes it easy for the GNSS satellites and ground control units to communicate with each other. Digital communication lines are used to track and adjust satellite orbits, and this makes sure that the satellites are always in the right place at the right time.

To calculate positions correctly, GNSS needs very accurate information about when things happened. Digital clocks in the satellites sync up with ground control to keep accurate time. This makes it possible to figure out exactly where a user is.

Also, GNSS satellites send out digital signals that have exact information about time and location. Digital technology makes it easy to encode, modulate, and send these messages to the receivers of users.

Augmentation systems that make GNSS more accurate and reliable are made with the help of digital technology. These systems use extra information, like ground-based reference points, to make corrections and improve the accuracy of positioning.

GNSS can be combined with other digital technologies, like Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and smart city infrastructure, to make apps that are more complex and connected.

In addition, GNSS efficiency is always being improved by research and development, which is made possible by digital technology. Improvements in digital signal processing, data compression, and error-correction methods help signals be received more accurately and reliably.

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