Earth Data Store

A platform to aggregate and analyze geospatial and earth observation data.

Project Budget* - $3.9M

Partner Co-investment - $2.2M

Supercluster Co-investment - $1.7M

Urthecast – $1.59 M
Sparkgeo – $0.15 M

*Contracted amounts as of September 30, 2020. 

Project Partners

*With funding support from Mitacs

Project Overview

Canada’s iconic landscapes are defined by its resource-rich forests, fields, lakes, mountains and oceans. Our natural resources sector contributes 17 per cent to Canada’s GDP. Improved stewardship and management are needed to protect forests from wildfires that cost up to $1 billion annually, as well as to support sustainable development of major resource projects valued at $585 billion over the next 10 years. 

The remote sensing sector is poised for enormous growth due to the volume of rich data sets that are now becoming accessible at a global scale. The frequency of satellite images of the Earth is also increasing at unprecedented rates, generating trillions of unique measurements (i.e., pixels) and Terabytes of data each day.

The challenge with this ‘big data’ is finding practical ways to extract value and deliver it to end users at scale, due to the complex nature and the sheer volume of information. A platform to aggregate and analyze this geospatial and earth observation data is needed. 

UrtheCast, in collaboration with Sparkgeo, Microsoft, the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria are Geoscience BC, are addressing this challenge with the development of the Earth Data Store project. This project will provide unparalleled access to standardized terrestrial and spatial earth observation data and develop industry-specific applications that will allow end users to see how a region evolves over time using visual interactive maps and running deep-learning algorithms. 

In this first phase, the Earth Data Store tackles the normalization problems of data, particularly with data generated from multiple sensors, which can consume up to 80 per cent of the analysis preparation. It is expected this project will support the growth of companies delivering big data/geospatial analytics products and information services to a global market estimated to be worth $10B.

The project is looking at relevant use cases, including the assessment of risk related to climate change and extreme weather events. Better access to and understanding of available data will enable researchers, businesses and government agencies to make informed decisions on a wide array of key environmental issues.

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