Sustainability and Using the Power of Earth Observation (EO)

Compass Informatics is excited to be involved in the ESA Green Transition Information Factory (GTIF) project, a groundbreaking initiative led by University College London (UCL) in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), EarthDaily Analytics, and Surrey AI Imaging Ltd (SAIIL).

The recent ESA GTIF event highlighted the immense potential of Earth Observation (EO) data in tackling sustainability challenges.

The project, is focusing on five crucial areas: optimising solar power siting, mapping PM2.5 pollution, monitoring droughts, tracking fugitive methane emissions, and understanding urban heat islands.

Let’s explore how EO empowers each of these initiatives.

Optimising Solar Power Siting

Imagine vast landscapes generating clean energy while crops flourish beneath. This innovative vision underpins a core focus of optimising solar power siting.

The key lies in bi-focal photovoltaic (PV) panels, a revolutionary technology that allows sunlight to filter through, enabling “under panel” agriculture. This approach maximises land use by allowing food production to coexist with solar energy generation.

To pinpoint the ideal locations for these groundbreaking solar farms, leveraging the power of EO data. They analyse factors like surface albedo (reflectivity), terrain height and slope, ensuring the panels receive optimal sunlight exposure.

This data-driven approach paves the way for a sustainable future where clean energy and food security go hand-in-hand.

Mapping PM2.5 Pollution

Clean air is essential for healthy lungs and a healthy planet and we must tackle air quality concerns by creating detailed maps of PM2.5, a harmful particulate matter linked to respiratory problems.

This is achieved by combining high-resolution satellite imagery with cutting-edge atmospheric correction techniques.

The advanced approach removes distortions caused by the atmosphere, providing a clearer picture of ground-level PM2.5 concentrations.

Such detailed maps empower policymakers to pinpoint areas with the highest pollution levels and develop targeted strategies for cleaner air, paving the way for healthier cities.

Monitoring Droughts in Food-Growing Areas

Droughts cast a long shadow over food security. To combat this threat, EO data can be used like a watchful eye. By analysing data from both optical and microwave sources, detailed maps are created, pinpointing drought occurrences across agricultural regions.

This early warning system empowers farmers and policymakers to take proactive measures. With this crucial information, they can implement improved water management practices, safeguarding food production and ensuring a more secure food supply for all.

Tracking Fugitive Methane Emissions

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas with significant climate impact, lurks unseen in the atmosphere and it is our mission to track down these invisible threats.

This is achieved by utilising data from the Sentinel-2 satellite and the EarthDaily constellation to create high-resolution maps of fugitive methane emissions. These maps pinpoint leaks from both natural sources and human activities, such as oil and gas infrastructure.

With this crucial information, policymakers and industry leaders can develop targeted mitigation strategies to plug the leaks and significantly reduce methane emissions, contributing to a cooler planet for all.

Understanding Urban Heat Islands

Cities often sizzle under a dome of heat, creating “urban heat islands” and it is becoming ever more important to cool things down with the power of smart satellites.

They leverage high-resolution thermal imaging data from Landsat and SatVu satellites to create detailed maps. These maps not only pinpoint Surface Urban Heat Islands (SUHIs) but also analyse Surface Heat Loss (SHL) on a building-by-building basis.

This granular data empowers urban planners to identify areas most in need of heat mitigation strategies.

With this information, they can implement targeted solutions like green roofs, improved ventilation, and energy-efficient building materials, paving the way for cooler, more sustainable cities for all.


These innovative applications of EO data, showcase the immense potential for a more sustainability-driven future.

By harnessing the power of EO, we can gain invaluable insights into our planet and make data-driven decisions that benefit both the environment and society.

About Compass Informatics

Compass Informatics is a leading provider of geospatial intelligence solutions, empowering organisations to make informed decisions and optimise their operations through the power of spatial data.

We offer a comprehensive suite of geospatial solutions, including GIS software, data analytics, and consulting services, tailored to meet the specific needs of our clients across diverse industries.

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