Ecometrica, the Edinburgh based sustainability firm, has signed a GBP 4.5 million data sharing deal with the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences.
One of the global leaders in sustainability planning, Ecometrica has developed software that accurately predicts environmental impacts, and will grant the University of Edinburgh limitless access to the software as part of this deal.
Ecometrica’s ground-breaking platform, a web-based geographic information system, collates massive amounts of satellite data with data gathered on the ground by scientists to generate highly interactive maps illustrating complex and changing environmental situations.
Access to this software will allow University of Edinburgh researchers to create custom applications to monitor environmental fluctuations in various settings, including forests, and agricultural and coastal ecosystems.
In the wake of this agreement, the University of Edinburgh plans to set up an Earth Observation Laboratory (EO Lab), as part of its Geosciences programme. This lab will be linked to a number of other Ecometrica EO Labs all over the world, powered by maps illustrating complex and changing environmental situations.
Dr Richard Tipper, executive chairman of Ecometrica, said in a press release: “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 resources and collaborate on the development of innovative products and uses.
“We expect more universities to join the global network and set up all labs, with support sustainable forestry, agriculture and natural resource management,” he said.
The agreement between the University and Ecometrica has formalised the ongoing collaboration between the two organisations, and is predicted to produce a £4.5m profit for both parties over the next five years.
An earlier agreement, involving Nasa and the UK Space Agency, granted the University of Edinburgh School of Geosciences access to the Ecometrica platform in a joint undertaking with the Universities of Leicester and Maryland, in order to explore the possibility of collaborative use of Earth observation data assets and Lidar technology.
However the latest memorandum grants the University a license to use the Ecometrica Platform’s mapping suite for research and teaching purposes across its three Colleges and 20 schools in exchange for being included into research applications in the geospatial area.
Professor Matthew Williams, head of the Global Change Research Institute at the University of Edinburgh, said in a press release: “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 continued: “One of our first applications will be to generate reports from our 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”, Williams said.
Image: Kim Traynor