Canada’s iconic landscape is defined by its resource rich forests, fields, lakes, mountains, and oceans.
Our resource sector contributes 17% to Canada’s GDP. Improved stewardship and management is needed to protect Canada’s forests from wildfires that cost $0.5 -$1.0 B annually and to support sustainable development of major resource projects valued at $585 B over the next 10 years.
The remote sensing sector is poised for enormous growth due to the volume of spectrally rich data sets that are now becoming accessible at a global scale. Temporal resolutions of geospatial information is increasing at an unprecedented rate, generating trillions of new pixels of imagery data daily.
The challenge with this ‘big data’ is finding practical ways to extract value and deliver it to end users at scale, both 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, Bioenterprise and Geoscience BC, will address this challenge by developing the Earth Data Store (EDS). EDS will provide unparalleled access to standardized temporal 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% of the analysis preparation. It is expected this project will support the growth of companies delivering big data/geospatial analytics products and information services, a global market estimated to be worth $10 B.
The project will look at a number of highly 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.