Ecometrica to Spearhead the Use of Satellite Data for Global Forest Monitoring

by | Oct 15, 2015

Oct. 15, 2015 – Ecometrica has landed one of its most significant contracts to date with a role that sees it co-ordinate a major new international project on behalf of the UK Space Agency.

The firm will take the role of main contractor in one of the first projects of the agency’s International Partnership Space Programme (IPSP), setting up a network of virtual regional Earth Observation (EO) Labs to develop suitable products for the forest sector.

The project is aimed at addressing a lack of usable data from the unparalleled numbers of images being sent to Earth from satellites. It will use advanced cloud computing systems and Ecometrica’s software platform to allow data to be managed, made relevant and shared.

Ecometrica will initially work with Brazilian space research institute INPE and Mexican research group ECOSUR, as well as several of the UK’s leading forest EO researchers and experts.

Dr Richard Tipper, chairman of Ecometrica, said: This project is intended to stimulate co-investment, economic development and long term partnerships. It will be a springboard for developing larger and longer-term plans for collaboration, co-investment and business between the UK, Brazil and Mexico on Earth Observation applications, extending to other countries in due course.

Our approach is to apply the concept of regional Earth Observation Labs. Our model of an EO Lab is one that can be established within an existing research, business or administrative organisation. The core components are cloud-based data and software, so there is minimal requirement for physical infrastructure. Each EO Lab will serve specific themes relevant to its region. For example, in the case of southern Mexico, there are specific forest-agriculture interactions that are of importance for forest protection, biodiversity and social development.

There are many local, national and international stakeholders who would like access to EO-derived information. A regional lab should support co-ordination and collaboration between these stakeholders to move away from fragmented, compartmentalised mapping and monitoring to build information products that aim for continuity, wall-to-wall coverage and consistent quality.

The initial set of regional EO Labs can be replicated in other countries and may also expand to cover related themes to the initial focus on forestry. The labs will also be able to share or distribute information between each other.

Dr Tipper added: The state-of-the-art cloud-based system will mean huge amounts of data can be shared, allowing applications to be built combining satellite images with studies, models and information gathered on the ground. When you combine data with other models it starts to become ever more interesting and reliable, and by working with a variety of stakeholders we will be able to create unprecedented levels of usable information, initially on the forests of Brazil and Mexico and eventually many other aspects of the environment.

About Ecometrica

Ecometrica's team of recognised experts in sustainability accounting and reporting has been named as one of the world's top Sustainability and EH&S brands by industry analyst Verdantix. Ecometrica has unrivalled experience in environmental assessments and natural capital accounting, and the Ecometrica Platform brings clarity to environmental and natural resource challenges by combining earth observation data from satellites with local information and business intelligence.

Ecometrica supports all aspects of sustainability planning, operations and reporting by businesses and public organisations. Its data and software services are available worldwide through offices in Boston, Edinburgh, London and Montreal.

Bio Dr Richard Tipper, executive Chairman, Ecometrica

Dr Richard Tipper is an innovator and champion of evidence-based environmental action. He has worked as an adviser on climate change issues for many government, business and international organisations.

After studying Agricultural Science (Edinburgh University) Richard worked in Chiapas, Mexico as an advisor to farmers' organisations. He went on to take an MSc in Technology Management, then doctoral research on the economics of contemporary Mayan farmers. Following his PhD (Stirling University), in 1994, he obtained research funding to develop systems for delivering payments for ecosystem services to communities and smallholder farmers (Plan Vivo System). While researching he obtained commercial investment to put theory into practice leading to projects in Mexico, India, Uganda and Mozambique.

With commercial interest growing in this area Richard founded the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management (ECCM), and built a team of experts on carbon accounting, providing consulting and advisory services. While at ECCM Richard was appointed to the UK Roster of Experts on Climate Change and was Lead Author on two IPCC reports. In 2007 his work on the IPCC was recognised as a contribution to the Nobel Peace Prize. Richard also advised on numerous standards, protocols and methodologies for accounting for greenhouse gas emissions, including the WBCSD-WRI GHG Protocol, European standards for biofuels and PAS 2060.

He is currently on the expert evaluation team of Norway's international climate and forests initiative.


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