Editorials, News

Refocusing Radiant Earth Foundation’s Efforts to Impact Global Development with Machine Learning

Data drives decisions. Whether it’s the number on a scale signaling the need to diet or a satellite image showing the extent of flooding for disaster response, data, imagery, and the resulting analyses they enable guide valuable insights and actions.

Radiant Earth Foundation was founded on the premise that much of the world’s best data and imagery was difficult to find and even more difficult to use because of access issues, making these valuable assets stranded and underutilized.

Tech Innovation

STAC 0.7.0 Release and New Website

Chris Holmes is pleased to share two pieces of news about the SpatioTemporal Asset Catalogs Spec. The first is that we now have a website! The goal of the website is to be a much more approachable set of explanations than the specification itself. Having the specification live on GitHub was done on purpose to make it more accessible to developers, but it can be intimidating to non-developers. Putting up the website is indeed a milestone, signaling that STAC is maturing enough to welcome a wider audience.

A big thanks goes to David Gavin of Digital Earth Australia for doing all the initial website copy and styling at the 3rd STAC Sprint, with his ‘outreach’ group. We are hoping to have another outreach group do comparable tasks at the 4th Sprint, though the group at the last sprint set a very high bar.

Thought Leadership

Geo-Diverse Open Training Data as a Global Public Good

As part of the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative, Hamed Alemohammad, Chief Data Scientist at Radiant Earth was invited to share how the organization is using open data and the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud to support the global development community.

Machine learning in support of the SDGs
To effectively leverage open EO data and analytics in support of the SDGs, we turn raw EO data into insights that can guide the decisions required to create a sustainable future. Machine learning is an important part of that process but has one major drawback – the lack of geo-diverse training datasets. Radiant Earth is actively working to fill that gap.

Tech Innovation

Join STAC Sprint #4!

Things have been moving along well in the SpatioTemporal Asset Catalog community, but we’ve decided it’s been far too long since our last sprint. While STAC is primarily an online collaboration, the in-person sprints are where we’ve always made our most substantial progress. After our initial inception at a sprint in Boulder, we paired our next two sprints with other groups — the second with WFS 3.0, and the third with Analysis Ready Data. It was great to have the interchange between related groups, but for this sprint, we’ve decided to make it all about STAC.

Community Voices

Awa Thiam: Creating Efficient Sustainable Food Systems with Geospatial Data

It is our pleasure to introduce to you Ms. Awa Thiam, Founder of Lifantou and 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow alumna. Lifantou is an innovative social enterprise connecting smallholder farmers with school canteens in Senegal using geospatial data and tools.

African social entrepreneurs are considered essential for social progress in Africa. Often combining innovative technological solutions to address local societal challenges, these social entrepreneurs are not only creating jobs. Perhaps more interesting, their businesses are transforming all facets of society …

Editorials, News

The stage of maturity — Earth observation in a new era of space exploration

2019 First Quarter EO Market News Round-Up – Space commerce is enjoying a renaissance period mainly due to technological advances that have dramatically decreased cost and increased data and related services. A $17+ billion market (and growing), today’s space industry is on the verge of entering maturity — the stage of self-discovery, boldness, and adventure.

The maturing space industry is evident with players in both private and public sectors accelerating the recent advances in science and technology that makes operating in space more viable for commercial and research interests. This year thus far, the European Space Agency (ESA) tested its new 3D printed rocket thrust chamber to help design more efficient rocket engines.

Testimonials & Use Cases

Creating a buzz: How satellite imagery brought awareness to deforestation and illegal mining in a National Park

More than half of Venezuela is forested land, but according to the Global Forest Watch, the country has lost 3.2% of its tree cover in the last two decades, with eight regions alone responsible for 55% of total tree cover loss. Environmentalists are subsequently raising the alarm seeing that forested areas not only absorbed greenhouse gases, but also contribute to the economy.

SOSOrinoco was established in early 2018 to shed light on the existing body of work, especially regarding the situation in the Amazonas and Orinoco regions of Venezuela, to raise awareness of the tragedy that is occurring, and to outline some urgent measures that need to be taken to halt the unfolding human and environmental disaster.

Tech Innovation

STAC Extensions and 0.6.2 Release

First up is the 0.6.2 release. Similar to the 0.6.1 release, it is mostly some small ‘fixes’: updated examples, spec language that wasn’t quite right, and updating the implementation page to link to more catalogs. Plus, we improved our JSON Schemas — for stricter checking of version numbers and compatibility with the last JSON Schema specs. But, we did decide that ‘minor’ releases like this one could include additional STAC extensions, as those right now are more of a community where ideas evolve. Thus, in this release, we are adding in 4 new extensions, which are all in ‘proposal’ status of our Extension Maturity classification. This means that they are solid ideas seeking more input from real-world implementations. As extensions get more implementations and testing, it will move up the maturity classification to become stable extensions that everyone can rely upon.

Testimonials & Use Cases

When your town is burning, every second counts

Tracking fires at the urban-wildland interface with Planet Labs and Radiant Earth Foundation
Cape Town is world renowned for its scenic beauty. Table Mountain looms large over the city, with the urban environment wedged between its steep cliffs and the oceans surrounding the Peninsula. These attractions draw millions of tourists every year and entice locals to build their homes in close proximity to the natural environment. But this proximity comes with substantial risks. The natural vegetation of the region — an evergreen shrubland locally known as ‘fynbos’ — is prone to regular, high severity fires.

News

Satellite Journalism – The Big Picture

Journalist Mark Corcoran publishes a paper on the growth of satellite imagery in journalism. In the paper, he “examines media case studies, the two dominant US providers of commercial satellite imagery to media and raises questions on the applications and limitations of new satellite journalism. What is the potential of satellite newsgathering for journalists? How can journalists independently authenticate images provided by a third party? What are the censorship issues? What technical proficiency is required to interpret images? In an age when anyone with a credit card and internet access can already download archived satellite imagery, what are the security issues and responsibilities of journalists? And gazing into the not so distant future, what might satellite journalism look like 5 to 10 years from now?”

Download the paper below.