Before taking decisions regarding environmental protection measures, there is the need for information concerning the current state and changes of water, soil and air. Therefore, recording, collection, processing and evaluation of such data are one of the main tasks of the HLNUG. The agency took over a treasure of information from its predecessor organizations, which since then is not only extended continuously, but also reorganized in databases as well as maps and published via several media.
A dense and area-wide monitoring network measures air pollutants, physical, chemical and biological water parameters and soil parameters. Numerous of the measuring stations are operated by the HLNUG, e.g. the stations of the air quality monitoring network. Additionally, studies within the framework of several monitoring programs are carried out regularly, for example the extensive measuring program for monitoring environmental radioactivity by our radiation protection laboratory in Kassel. It is the only state facility in Hessen which is able to carry out this measurement.
Regardless if data are taken automated or manually and from where they come - they are gathered in the HLNUG and become digitalized, evaluated and processed for several purposes. For instance, since the end of 2010, the Hessian Flood Forecast Center of the HLNUG is fed with gauge and discharge data. The Flood Forecast Center provides the discharge and water level hydrographs for currently around 40 gauges with a forecast time up to 24 hours and an estimation time up to 7 days. The center plays therefore a significant role in flood protection and proofed itself for the first time during the area-wide flood at the beginning of 2011.
An important aspect of all measurement is the quality of recorded data. Therefore, the HLNUG, together with other German environmental authorities, works on quality assurance and development of measurement methods.
The validated data flow into several special IT-Systems and maps. In this way, they allow to deal with specialized questions. For instance, the general geological map on a scale of 1:25,000 as well as the drilling points provide necessary information for the work of engineering geology, hydrogeology and the geology of raw material.
All the different data are especially valuable when they are brought together in digitalized form and evaluated with spatial reference. This happens via so-called Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Therefore, the GIS-Center of the HLNUG is in charge for crucial tasks of the entire environmental administration and provides authorities, enterprises and public with a range of environmental information which is up-to-date and in line with the demand.
Text published in Water AND Waste 2012
Springer Vieweg Verlag Wiesbaden