Fighting climate change with satellite data — and the tools to deliver it

Satellites generate vast and diverse amounts of data on a daily basis. Why aren’t we using this data more widely to preserve our planet?

Credit: Matt Palmer @ Unsplash
The entire planet is becoming hotter; in some regions, this means severe drought. The Western United States are just one region that has been particularly affected. Along with other regions, it may become uninhabitable in the coming decades. (NOAA / NASA)
The Maldives are one of the many island nations threatened with complete disappearance due to rising ocean water levels; many others experience increasingly harsh seasonal floods. (Credit: Dion Tavenier @ Unsplash)

Why does data matter

Massive emitters of greenhouse gasses — like cities, refineries and coal power stations — can be monitored from orbit, along with a number of other factors relevant to climate change. (Credit: Patrick Hendry @ Unsplash)

The problem

  • The data still needs extensive analysis and insights based on it to become actionable;
  • The key takeaways from the data must be offered in a much more user-friendly format — like notifications for crop damage in a farmer’s app, or better integrated into decision-making environments and platforms for energy companies, local governments, small businesses, community management structures, etc. Such solutions are either scarce or non-existent;
  • Many potential users are simply oblivious to the benefits of EO data.

How will Ephemeris achieve this?

  • Data provider: A space company operating a constellation of imaging satellites; it uses the decentralized ground station network, HomePort, and adjacent data storage and processing capabilities to send data from the satellites down to Earth, and crunch it into a commercial data product;
  • Data access point: A data marketplace, managed access platform or other dissemination tool that governs the distribution of the data to users. This can be built either by the data provider, or any marketplace developer operating on Ephemeris;
  • Data consumer: In this example we’ve set up a DAO where consensus-based decisions are taken on the basis of objective indicators extracted from EO data products and analytics. In this case, the DAO represents a real-life decentralized community managing a forested area through a system of incentives and penalties. The DAO has been set up to protect the area from illegal logging, and has assigned responsibilities to specific member organizations, each with its own physical area of responsibility. If unsanctioned logging occurs in one area, the event is detected by satellite and rapidly communicated to the DAO, which investigates and issues a fine to the organization managing the affected area. Conversely, if another area has expanded its wooded area, its managing organization can receive a reward under a defined set of rules — whether for the size of the forested area, the projected carbon offset, or other indicators.
  • Infrastructure & process validator: These can be validator nodes, oracles or other components which check and verify variables, outcomes or data points necessary for a process to occur.

Key engagement

  • Our partnership with CUDOS will provide Ephemeris users access to secure computing resources for EO data. CUDOS is a decentralized cloud computing network; by obtaining computation resources through CUDOS, Ephemeris will ensure data users can have a secure, scalable environment to convert raw data into meaningful products and actionable insights.
  • We have also initiated a collaboration with SupraOracles, the rapid-finality, scalable oracle infrastructure to ensure reliable data inputs for critical decision-making events. We will work together to build, demonstrate and operate oracle solutions that will reliably verify events related to ground station operations, data availability and decisions based on data inputs.
  • As already mentioned, managing access to datasets and elements along the pipeline is critical — which is why we’ve partnered with HyperSign to develop the next-generation access and credential systems for satellite data and space infrastructures.
  • We are also actively building a network of data consumers and utility partners. One collaboration that stands out is Ignitos Space, the first Zambian space tech startup. Ignitos Space is leveraging EO data and AI to tackle a variety of challenges with initial focus on agriculture and climate change. Zambia is at the forefront of blockchain adoption in Africa — actively researching blockchain technology for financial inclusion, and has already begun implementing blockchain-based solutions for its National Land Titling Program.

What’s next?

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store