Nov 24, 2015

University of Edinburgh teams up with Ecometrica to establish Earth Observation Lab

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.

Estimated Article Reading Time: 4 min.

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.”

For more information on how to establish an Earth Observations Lab, please visit Ends Distributed by The Communications Business on behalf of Ecometrica and University of Edinburgh School of GeoSciences. For further information, please contact: Denise Hannestad The Communications Business Tel +44 131 208 1500 Email:

About Ecometrica
• In October 2015 Ecometrica was appointed by the UK Space Agency to co-ordinate a major new international project to set up a network of virtual regional Earth Observation (EO) Labs to develop suitable products for the forest sector.
• Ecometrica will spearhead the use of satellite data for forest monitoring across the globe. It 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.
• Forest satellite data & mapping project led by Ecometrica and funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Space Programme (IPSP) secured funding of over $1 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to support conservation of the El Ocote Biosphere Reserve, an internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot in the state of Chiapas. 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 sustainability data and software services are available worldwide through offices in Boston, Edinburgh, London and Montreal. About University of Edinburgh CARDAMOM Data Model The Carbon Data Model Framework (CARDAMOM) is a software system that combines satellites observations of vegetation, plus climate and soil maps, with a computer model of plant and soil processes, to produce consistent analyses of the terrestrial carbon cycle. The model ensures that carbon movements through terrestrial ecosystems can be tracked and counted effectively. The data from satellites ensures that the model is tested and updated against independent observations including estimates of forest biomass, and of the greenness of forest canopies. Further, satellite observations of fires and of forest clearance are used to adjust the model so that it represents the local dynamic situation as closely as possible, across the globe. The end product is an analysis that generates monthly maps of photosynthesis, plant growth, decomposition, linked to local weather and disturbance – CARDAMOM in effect produces a health check on ecosystems.

About the University of Edinburgh School of GeoSciences

University of Edinburgh School of GeoSciences explores the factors and forces that shape our world. We aim to develop a better understanding of the coupled Earth System, that is, the interactions between the Earth’s geosphere, atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and cryosphere, the drivers of variability and change, and the roles and responses of humans in this complex interplay. With over 370 academics, researchers and research students, we are the largest grouping of geoscientists in the UK. Research activity is currently coordinated within three main Research Institutes – Global Change, Earth and Planetary Science, and Geography and the Lived Environment – and within many smaller research groupings that may reach beyond the School. We are addressing many current ‘grand challenges’ effectively though: building on strong core disciplines that include ecology, environmental sciences, geography, geology, geophysics, meteorology and oceanography; utilising approaches that range from whole-system-scale modelling to process studies and critical analysis; and actively fostering collaboration with academic and non-academic stakeholders within and beyond the University. The School of GeoSciences holds a Bronze Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology.