The original suggestion for this project came from a casual conversation with BTV Ignight and the City of Burlington. There are a number of resources that already try to address this problem, but the ones I've seen fall short of an elegant, comprehensive solution:
- Lake Champlain Basin Program: Testing and Beach Closures
- VT Dept of Health: Cyanobacteria Tracker Map
It is likely that the necessary data may be readily available. The UVM Rubinstein school is another potential source of reliable on water quality data. With some coordination and effort this could be mapped and quickly prototyped.
Protyping Image Analysis Datasource
The data that is currently available tends to be highly reliable, but frequently out of date. We are exploring the posibility of creating a new datasource that has the opposite properties: trading off some reliability for availability. The Image Analyzer prototype is a machine learning approach that takes images submitted via a simple mobile app and attempts to apply machine learning approaches to determine whether an image represents an algae bloom.
This project will begin simply, and then we will explore the extent to which actionable data can be sourced from images. Ultimately the hope is that this method can provide an additional, potentially real-time datasource to assist in determining whether an algea bloom exists in a given place and time.