Space data outfit boosts environmental monitoring

A Scottish software business is aiming to take the guesswork out of environmental monitoring after tapping into satellite data technology developed at the University of Edinburgh.

Ecometrica chief executive Gary Davis. Picture: Greg Macvean
Ecometrica chief executive Gary Davis. Picture: Greg Macvean

Edinburgh-based Ecometrica has acquired the technology to interpret data collected by Europe’s Sentinel-1 satellite mission in a bid to predict floods, crop yields, forest protection and water stewardship.

The data – collected from two satellites that map the entire globe every 12 days – will be used alongside Ecometrica’s Earth Observation (EO) platform to provide a bird’s eye view of global environmental impacts.

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Ecometrica chief executive Gary Davis said: “Imagery and data from Sentinel-1 has tremendous potential to be used commercially and for earth conservation. By making this data easily accessible, the possibilities are limitless.

“Our aim is to develop innovative solutions for monitoring and reporting environmental information. The latest enhancement of Ecometrica’s EO platform positions the company as a truly end-to-end provider of high value, satellite-derived information.”

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The acquisition of Edinburgh University’s technology follows the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding with the university to make Ecometrica’s satellite mapping platform available on an unlimited basis for research and teaching purposes.

Angus Stewart-Liddon, licensing executive at Edinburgh Research & Innovation, the university’s commercialisation arm, said: “There’s no doubting that the Sentinel-1 programme provides an outstanding asset in terms of the quantity and quality of data offered.

“Harnessing that data effectively, however, is going to be critical and this is where the university’s software solution comes to the fore. We are always looking for opportunities to deliver impact from our university’s class-leading research, and I am delighted that we are achieving this through Ecometrica’s EO platform.”

The research behind the technology has been led by Edward Mitchard and Murray Collins of the university’s School of GeoSciences under funding received from the UK Natural Environment Research Council.