EDINBURGH, 23 November 2015 The University of Edinburgh has teamed up with sustainability software and data firm Ecometrica to establish a new Earth Observation Lab aimed at deriving maximum benefit from the vast amounts of spatial data produced by satellites. It will allow researchers around the world to share data and create customised applications to monitor environmental changes in forests, agriculture and coastal ecosystems. 

The Earth Observation Lab built on Ecometrica’s advanced cloud-based satellite data and mapping platform will be hosted at the university’s School of GeoSciences, one of Europe’s leading centres for earth systems and environmental sciences. It will be linked to a number of other ‘EO Labs’ being established by Ecometrica around the world, facilitated by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Space Programme (IPSP).

Professor Mathew Williams, head of Global Change Research Institute, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, said: “Space is a big frontier for economic growth and job creation, and Ecometrica’s platform allows scientists querying large spatial data sets to share their research findings with organisations around the world and make it available to a wide variety of users in developing countries.”

He added: “One of our first applications will be to generate reports from our CARDAMOM ecosystem model that estimates the changes in biomass for all forests across the world, every month.

“At the same time as helping those working to improve the environment in far-flung corners of the world, the facility will help keep the University of Edinburgh at the cutting edge of global research.”

Dr Richard Tipper, executive chairman of Ecometrica, said: “It’s excellent news that the University of Edinburgh is establishing an EO Lab. The larger the network, the more efficient and powerful it becomes. This allows scientists and environmental specialists around the world to share their research and collaborate on the development of innovative products and uses. We expect more universities to join the global network and set up EO Labs, which support sustainable forestry, agriculture and natural resource management.”

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