Satellite-based Environmental Analytics

Monitoring the effects of climate change through the application of high-resolution satellite imagery and sophisticated data analytics.

Project Budget* - $2.9M

Partner Co-investment - $1.8M

Supercluster Co-investment - $1.1M

Urthecast – $1.12 M

*Contracted amounts as of September 30, 2020. 

Project Collaborators

Project Overview

Climate change, pollution, urbanization and natural disasters have accelerated the need to better monitor their impacts on our planet. To understand the long-term impacts across vast areas, space-based images of earth are vital. Large collections of overlapping satellite images can be accurately merged together as mosaics to help understand how the earth’s landscape and ecosystem evolve over time. These mosaics provide vital data to help us understand the health of wetlands, forests and agricultural regions around the globe.

Mosaics for large areas tend to be constructed from low-resolution images. Producing high-quality mosaics for large areas is labour intensive and time consuming; they can take many months to build as they are often manually pieced together to create precise and seamless images that are cloud, shadow and artifact free.

In response, UrtheCast is leading the Satellite-based Environmental Analytics project in partnership with Microsoft, BC Parks Foundation, the University of Victoria, Hatfield Consultants, BGC Engineering and Environment and Climate Change Canada. The team is building a system to automate and accelerate the generation of high-quality, analytics-ready mosaics using multiple sources of complex earth observation satellite data. This process will create mosaics while addressing satellite location errors and correcting radar images, including removing clouds.

These high-quality mosaics will be ready for use with environmental monitoring applications that leverage machine learning and augmented reality. This will give users the tools they need to quickly and accurately map wildlife areas, evaluate changes in land surfaces or manage ranges.

Once prototypes have been developed, the team plans to demonstrate their extensive capabilities to large-scale mapping and navigation enterprises, including Uber, Google and Azure Maps. Organizations will be able to use this solution as an environmental monitoring tool, leading to improved environmental stewardship.

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