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A data management platform as a precursor to an open data center for environmental monitoring


The Radiation Protection Dosimetry Department (6.3) is equipped with several reference measurement sites for ambient radiation dosimetry where ionizing radiation components in the environment are measured continuously. The measured values are monitored with regard to their consistency and plausibility. For this purpose, a data management platform was developed to allow data to be verified rapidly and trends and anomalies to be identified reliably. This database acts as a precursor to a planned environmental monitoring open data center that is to provide the research community with comprehensive measurement data.

Ionizing radiation in the environment has long been characterized at PTB’s reference measurement stations by means of several sophisticated detectors. This type of radiation field consists of several components: on the one hand, continuous terrestrial gamma radiation, which is emitted by radioactive nuclei in the Earth's crust, and on the other hand, secondary cosmic radiation, which has a charged and an uncharged component. Since 2020, measurement of outdoor radon activity concentration has also been possible. It is planned to investigate the activity concentration of radon as a tracer for greenhouse gas fluxes within the scope of the European research project titled “EMPIR traceRadon”.

The reference measurement data have contributed significantly to the quality assurance of the dosimetric monitoring and early‑warning systems that are being investigated and calibrated by PTB. A centralized data management platform is essential not only for the investigation of dosimetric systems: The data collected here can be used by external institutions in early-warning systems for unexpectedly high dose values in the environment (e.g., in a radiological incident). For this purpose, the consistency and plausibility of the data made available must be checked very thoroughly, since measurement values related to ionizing radiation can lead to sociopolitical unrest. They must therefore be handled with particular care. The data management platform developed to date provides data from a variety of complementary measuring instruments. A user‑friendly Python‑based interface allows fast data analysis that includes everything from data visualization to simple statistical analyses.

The platform forms a basis for the development of more complex data management platforms such as a planned environmental monitoring open data center. Such a data center would be highly reliable and allow external scientists to use all current extensive (and therefore unique) measurement data of PTB. To complement the system used to date, it is planned to check the plausibility of the data checked with greater reliability by means of new data processing concepts (artificial intelligence, machine learning). This is an essential step when issuing such sensitive data.

By providing such comprehensive, reliable and traceable data, the visibility of PTB as a competent partner in environmental research will be strengthened. Moreover, within the scope of environmental monitoring, this will support future European metrology networks (EMNs) such as the EMN on Radiation Protection.


Opens local program for sending emailF. Krasniqi, Department 6.3, Working Group 6.32

Opens local program for sending emailP. Kramer, Department 6.3, Working Group 6.35