Startups and the Market for Geospatial Data and Remote Sensing

  The geospatial and remote sensing sector has exploded in the last five years and is poised for even more growth over the next decade. In the initial years, companies in this sector were pretty niche - with customers that were primarily in government and the military. And then, as computing power became cheaper, satellite and drone costs decreased to a fraction of what they used to cost and other uses of remote sensing and spatial data were discovered, the sector exploded with new startups entering the field and larger companies expanding their offerings.   In fact, the market in geospatial data and remote sensing is expected to double from $53 billion in 2019 to $110 -$134 billion by 2025 at an annualized growth rate of ~15%.     It’s a global market, with the United States being the largest player so far with 40% of the market, closely followed by the European Union. The rest of the world is also growing rapidly, with India, China and Argentina being the leading markets in the devel

Reopening National Parks During the Pandemic - When Remote Sensing Can Help

  It was great to meet so many folks at our live workshop session on Sunday - there were a lot of questions and we had fun in our hands-on problem - working through identifying the Camp Fire and estimating the damage it caused from remote sensing data.   If you missed it and are curious about remote sensing, you can still sign up for the online course and other courses   here . All the material that we cover in the live workshop, including our hands-on problem, is available in the course.   So today, let’s take a look at some of the latest research on building models from remote sensing data and see how these models can help us navigate the impacts from reopening high-value tourist destinations in the pandemic.   With all the data available from remote sensing hardware, one of biggest questions facing scientists and engineers working in the clean tech sector is - which data source is the most effective in solving the problem? In some cases, the answer jumps out right away - for example

When Remote Sensing Satellites Were First Launched....

  Did you know that the first photographs of the Earth’s surface were taken during the early Apollo missions as practice for mapping the Moon?     These early photographs provided the stimulus for launching the Landsat satellites in the 1970s - a program that provided the first civilian uses of satellite data - and is still going strong today. In today’s world of commercial satellites ringing the Earth, it seems almost quaint to remember that one of the arguments used most often against the Landsat program was that high-altitude aircraft could do the job just as well.   In fact, the story of how the Landsat program was created and the battles to get it off the ground is fascinating!   Back in the 1960s and 1970s, scientists were familiar with data from weather satellites and the kinds of questions they could answer. But what else could be seen from space? And how useful was it?   So, when the first Landsat satellite was launched on 23rd July 1972, the biggest questions were about the t

Launching on Sunday June 14th: Introduction to Remote Sensing - Online Course and Live Workshop

  Fun fact - did you know that some of the first non-military applications of  remote sensing  were in  clean technology  ? The Landsat program was started in the 1970s and the data were first used to map land cover, identify crops and other natural resources. Today, of course, we have satellites, drones and UAVs to give us data for many different applications - the question is how do we work with that data? In honor of World Environment Day , we will be hosting a live, hands-on workshop and online course on remote sensing data. If you've ever been curious about what remote sensing is, how the data are acquired and accessed and how to get started analyzing the data, come and join us on   Sunday, June 14th at  11am-12.30pm  Pacific Time. All our workshops use practical problems to understand the concepts - and in this workshop we'll be estimating the impact of wildfires using publicly available data for Camp Fire - the deadliest and most destructive fire that burned in Californi

Startups, Funding and Disruption In The Wastewater Sector

  Today, we’ll conclude our series on data science in the wastewater sector with a look at the market size and some of the startups that are disrupting the sector.   The global market for wastewater treatment was $48 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to $65 billion by 2023, an annualized growth rate of about 6%.   This includes both municipal wastewater and wastewater from industrial plants such as oil and gas, paper, chemical manufacturing, food and mining. The market consists of engineering design and construction, operations, maintenance and process control of wastewater infrastructure, including sewer pipes and treatment plants.     While wastewater treatment is necessary in all countries, the size of the market by country is typically dependent on the regulations and environmental requirements. Europe and North America have the largest municipal wastewater treatment markets, but demand is rapidly growing in China, India and other developing countries. Some of the largest com

How Do Wastewater, Origami, Covid-19 and Remote Sensing Fit Together?

  When you hear the words “remote sensing”, what do you think about? Drones taking pictures of streets? Spy satellites?     The chances are that if you’re in the clean technology field, you’re thinking about land use and land cover, mapping crop productivity, estimating water accessibility, monitoring air pollution - all very typical cases where data from satellites, drones, UAVs and cameras are used to observe environmental conditions and make predictions.   But, what about wastewater?   Now wastewater is typically the poor cousin of the water sector - we all need it, but we’d much rather not think about it at all! But it’s really important and as we’ve seen recently, can be used for more than just waste disposal.   Right now, cities and countries around the world are monitoring wastewater to detect the spread of Covid-19.   So far, sampling methods have focused on collecting traditional grab samples at the wastewater treatment plant or at other inlets in the sewer system. However, th

Launch Announcement: Our hands-on, virtual workshop series begins Sunday

  Did you ever want to use data science to solve problems in energy, agriculture, climate, water, forestry, environmental remediation and other clean technology sectors? And wasn’t quite sure where to start or how to adapt existing algorithms for these sectors? We are launching a series of hands-on, virtual workshops where we use real world problems and datasets to introduce different aspects of data science for clean technology. We’ll cover remote sensing, spatial statistics, building prototypes, effective visualization techniques, and adapting different machine learning algorithms such as clustering, neural networks, deep learning and genetic algorithms among other topics. At the end of this series, you’ll be able to generate and access different sources of clean technology data, use a wide range of data science tools and machine learning algorithms in clean tech sectors from agriculture and water to energy and smart cities, build prototypes, and visualize and present your results ef

Spatial and Temporal, Small and Big: Using wastewater data to monitor the spread of Covid-19

  Have you been monitoring the news about Covid-19 obsessively? And wondering when the economy will open and if it’s safe to go out and resume normal activities?     If you have, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about how testing people to detect the presence of the virus, tracing the spread through contacts and monitoring outbreak clusters, is critical to being able to tell how the pandemic is progressing and if it’s safe to resume normal activities and thus open up the economy. But in many countries, including the United States, testing has been a bottleneck - either there haven’t been enough tests or the infection has spread to such an extent that actually testing people and tracing their contacts simply isn’t feasible anymore.   Further, even in countries like Germany and South Korea that have successfully deployed testing and tracing strategies, it is still expensive to conduct these tests and continue tracing contacts. And until a vaccine and/or some form of treatment is develo

Clean Tech and Data Science Trends In The Age of Covid: Part III

So far, we’ve been looking at the trends in the clean technology and data science sector during the pandemic in terms of   companies’ requirements ,   startup activity and acceleration of existing trends in automation, robotics and artificial intelligence . Today, we’ll wrap up our series with a look at how jobs in this sector are holding up and the skills that are increasingly in demand.   First, how has hiring in the sector been impacted?   Like many sectors, hiring in the clean technology and data science sector has slowed as companies and organizations evaluate their status and determine what will be needed in the year ahead. Hiring in many traditional roles in organizations and companies (e.g. environmental consultants, power plant engineers, wastewater treatment scientists, city sustainability officers) has been put on pause or eliminated at this time. These companies are essential organizations and are open, but they are typically operating with a skeleton staff and are still ev

Clean Tech and Data Science Trends In The Age of Covid: Part II

Last time , we looked at how Covid and the restrictions due to the pandemic are impacting the clean tech sector and accelerating existing trends in automation, robotics and artificial intelligence.   Today, let’s take a look at how the pandemic is impacting startups and funding.   For a long time, VC funding has been synonymous with innovation. Think of any of the large companies today - Google, Facebook, Uber, Tesla - they’re all products of the venture capital system. Clean technology saw a spike in VC funding in 2008-2010 and then interest and funding dollars waned after that - mainly because of a large number of bankruptcies and losses to the VC firms involved. Also, VC funding is often referred to as “impatient money” because returns on investments are expected within a relatively short timeframe, usually the life of the fund which is about 7-10 years. However, clean technology firms that rely heavily on infrastructure and hardware often take longer to exit and the returns are not