Complex Event Processing for Environmental Monitoring by Geospatial Sensors

The aim of this Ph.d. project was the design and implementation of a system for monitoring of continuous phenomena by sensor data streams. A major focus was the use of methods from the field of geostatistics.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Brinkhoff (head)

Peter Lorkowski, M.Sc.

Funding source

PhD program Jade2Pro


The monitoring of continuous phenomena like temperature, air pollution, precipitation, soil moisture etc. is of growing importance. Decreasing costs for sensors and associated infrastructure increase the availability of observational data. These data can only rarely be used directly for analysis, but need to be interpolated to cover a region in space and/or time without gaps. So the objective of monitoring in a broader sense is to provide data about the observed phenomenon in such an enhanced form.

Notwithstanding the improvements in information and communication technology, monitoring always has to function under limited resources, namely: number of sensors, number of observations, computational capacity, time, data bandwidth, and storage space. To best exploit those limited resources, a monitoring system needs to strive for efficiency concerning sampling, hardware, algorithms, parameters, and storage formats.

In that regard, this work proposes and evaluates solutions for several problems associated with the monitoring of continuous phenomena. Synthetic random fields can serve as reference models on which monitoring can be simulated and exactly evaluated. For this purpose, a generator is introduced that can create such fields with arbitrary dynamism and resolution. For efficient sampling, an estimator for the minimum density of observations is derived from the extension and dynamism of the observed field. In order to adapt the interpolation to the given observations, a generic algorithm for the fitting of kriging parameters is set out. A sequential model merging algorithm based on the kriging variance is introduced to mitigate big workloads and also to support subsequent and seamless updates of real-time models by new observations.

For efficient storage utilization, a compression method is suggested. It is designed for the specific structure of field observations and supports progressive decompression. The unlimited diversity of possible configurations of the features above calls for an integrated approach for systematic variation and evaluation. A generic tool for organizing and manipulating configurational elements in arbitrary complex hierarchical structures is proposed. Beside the root mean square error (RMSE) as crucial quality indicator, also the computational workload is quantified in a manner that allows an analytical estimation of execution time for different parallel environments.

In summary, a powerful framework for the monitoring of continuous phenomena is developed. With its tools for systematic variation and evaluation it supports continuous efficiency improvement.

Books and Papers

Lorkowski, P. (2019): A System Architecture for the Monitoring of Continuous Phenomena by Sensor Data Streams. Dissertation an der Universität Osnabrück , Weblink
Lorkowski, P.; Brinkhoff, T. (2016): Compression and Progressive Retrieval of Multi-Dimensional Sensor Data. The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, Volume XLI-B2, 2016, 27-33 , doi: 10.5194/isprs-archives-XLI-B2-27-2016 , Weblink
Lorkowski, P.; Brinkhoff, T. (2015): Environmental Monitoring of Continuous Phenomena by Sensor Data Streams: A System Approach based on Kriging. Proceedings 29th International Conference on Informatics for Environmental Protection, Copenhagen, Denmark, Atlantis Press, 2015 , doi: 10.2991/ict4s-env-15.2015.4 , Weblink
Lorkowski, P.; Brinkhoff, T. (2015): Towards Real-Time Processing of Massive Spatio-Temporally Distributed Sensor Data: A Sequential Strategy Based on Kriging. In: Bação, Santos, Painho (eds.): AGILE 2015 – Geographic Information Science as an Enabler of Smarter Cities and Communities, Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography, Springer, 145-163 , doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-16787-9_9


Lorkowski, P. : Compression and Progressive Retrieval of Multi-Dimensional Sensor Data. XXIII Congress of the ISPRS 2016, Prague, Czech Republic, Juni 2016