The system uses Russian satellites orbiting the earth to take pictures of the Olympic development sites and surrounding areas which will be completed two years ahead of the 2014 Winter Games to ensure natural habitats are not affected during construction. It will collect data from a series of remote sensors, on-site observations, mobile units and state-of-the-art mapping techniques.
Environmental monitoring technology has enabled a series of maps of Sochi to be created that show aspects such as vegetation; animal habitats; soils; altitudinal belts; gradients; and zones to monitor avalanche, mudflow and landslide.
Amirkhan Amirkhanov, Deputy Director of the National Environment Policy Department, Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation, said:
“This is a landmark day for Russia, where we celebrate the launch of a super-technology that will offer incredible benefits for the preservation of the environment. This technology has been developed for Sochi 2014 to ensure the very highest possible environmental standards in the development of the region as a world-class winter sports resort, but we now have the opportunity to use it in future development projects across Russia and share our expertise with our friends from around the world."
The new monitoring system was unveiled at the Ministry of Natural Resources Conference on 'Satellite Observations for Environment Monitoring', and comes after the completion of the project's initial stage, which resulted in the development of a comprehensive database on Environmental Impact Assessment.
Data from the environmental monitoring system will be included in the Olympic Games Global Impact (OGGI) study, which will be presented to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to become a legacy for future Olympic development projects. The advanced maps have already allowed Sochi 2014 and the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources to take a number of steps for the benefit of the environment, including:
• developing a suite of venue-specific environmental measures for protection of local flora and fauna;
• fine-tuning the choice of locations for the various sports facilities and making more informed town-planning decisions;
• developing locality-specific suites of engineering protection measures;
• substantiating a system of monitoring operations to track changes there might be in the condition of flora, fauna, soils, and various geological developments.
The Environmental Monitoring Satellite System is financed through the US$11.7 billion Federal Target Programme for the Development of Sochi, guaranteed by the Government of the Russian Federation, which is already leading to the redevelopment of the city and the surrounding region.
Dmitry Chernyshenko, CEO of the Sochi 2014 Bid Committee, said:
“The pioneering monitoring system will play a pivotal role in ensuring Sochi 2014 is the 'Gateway to Green Games'. This is a great example of the green legacy Sochi 2014 will leave for Russia and the rest of the world, as it will help us set a benchmark for future projects to follow. I am proud we are already seeing the benefits of our Bid for the environment and hope to set new standards of environmental awareness, responsibility and sustainability if we win the right to host the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”