The two-year contest to find the best methodology to measure the extent and depth of peat in Indonesia drew 44 teams that included some of the biggest names in peat research and mapping. The prize’s Scientific Advisory Board, a group of scientists and experts who reviewed the finalists’ submissions, reached a unanimous decision that the International Peat Mapping team produced the most accurate, timely and cost-effective methodology for mapping peatlands. The Indonesian government will use this new method to protect and manage peatland areas, accelerate peatland restoration and support Indonesia’s development goals.
The International Peat Mapping Team deployed satellite-based technologies and airborne LiDAR, combined with established on-the-ground measurements, making them the lead in mapping peatlands that combine accuracy, speed and affordability. The team deployed a product called WorldDEM that uses satellite imagery to model terrain at a 10-meter resolution as well as imagery from the Sentinel satellites.
The team combined these satellite-based technologies with terrain models derived from airborne LiDAR (a technology that uses laser light to create 3-D terrain maps). The methodology also included well-established on-the-ground measurements to create a model that could accurately estimate peat thickness. Finally, the team verified the peat data resulting from the combination of all these technologies with on-the-ground measurements. The team included mapping and peatland experts from Indonesia, Germany and the Netherlands.