Earth observation

VTT’s satellite image analysis tools and platform support sustainable use of natural resources.

Key facts: earth observation

Resource sufficiency and climate change major issues.

Satellite images enable near-real time resource monitoring.

On-line platform developed for forest resource management.

Sufficiency of natural resources and the need to use them sustainably are constituent issues for mankind. Changing climate introduces a challenge that is hard to control but can have a major effect on the availability of the resources. The Paris Agreement and other international and national regulations aim at mitigating the undesired change. 

Forests are major sinks and storages of carbon. Sustainable use of forest resources and reforestation are fastest ways for assimilating carbon dioxide and thus mitigate the raise of temperature. However, growing population also needs more food, which imposes a pressure to turn forests into agricultural land.

Satellites collect daily images from Earth

Intelligent use of the resources requires reliable information on them. Hundreds of satellites collect daily global information of Earth’s surface and atmosphere. The European Copernicus program is the central data source for satellite imagery. The vast data masses from Copernicus are available free of charge on the internet.

Intelligent satellite image analysis makes global resource management near real-time.

We develop methods that help people and organizations to have up-to-date information on the condition of the environment. Our speciality is forestry applications and we are experienced in the other fields of remote sensing as well. We analyse satellite images by combining them with other data such as ground measurements and atmospheric data.  

This results in accurate maps of biomass, tree species, and their changes such as cuttings within a given time range. A map with ten-meter accuracy of carbon that has been assimilated by forest within one year is an example of another product. The mapping can be done at any global location or it can cover the whole globe.

On-line Forestry-TEP platform

We have developed with a support by the European Space Agency ESA an on-line service Forestry Thematic Exploitation Platform or Forestry-TEP that operates in cloud environment. The platform can be considered a factory that inputs satellite data and other data and outputs useful information in the form of accurate maps. The user has to have only an access to the internet without having to download the data masses on his own computer. 

We have developed a versatile set of tools on the platform for image analysis.  In addition, any user can to develop his own services on Forestry-TEP with VTT’s support. Most up to date machine learning algorithms are used to bring intelligence to from the data. We are supporting users to build a service ecosystem for environmental management. 

Our platform and scientific expertise are used by domestic and international companies and organisations including forest industries, governments, value adding sector, and academia. We are recognised in our forestry remote sensing expertise word wide. Our work has led to establishment of a successful spin-off.

Mikko Salomaa

Mikko Salomaa

Solution Sales Lead