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Brazil tests world's largest environmental monitoring system

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An elaborate environmental monitoring system paid for by Brazil, Sivam was built by the US defense electronics contractor Raytheon Co. (Lexington, Mass.) and two Brazilian outfits, Embraer (Sao Jose dos Campos) and Atech (Sao Paulo)-the former an aeronautics company that has supplied planes for Sivam, the latter the Brazilian system integrator. The US $1.4 billion system pulls together information from over 500 monitoring devices, ranging from satellites to weather balloons covering 5.2 million km2 of the Amazon. System headquarters are going up in Brasilia, the nation's capital, and final system tests on the integration of all the network's components are scheduled to begin in October or November, 2003. Sivam is being used to detect illegal logging in Brazil, but can also be used to monitor fires, floods, pollution, weather, and-not least-the status of land set aside for indigenous peoples. The idea is to feed a constant flow of critically important data to scientists and to public authorities responsible for regulating the development and protection of the rain forest that covers 61 percent of Brazil.

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 9 )