Inspiration

About 43 percent of Earth’s land surface has been converted to agricultural or urban use. If this number rises to 50% or above, there is a severe risk that the entire ecosystem tips irreversibly into a state far different from the original, in terms of the mix of plant and animal species and their interactions. This situation is typically accompanied by species extinctions and a loss of biodiversity. To address this global tipping point, we need to better manage the land and ocean areas not already dominated by humans as reservoirs of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

What it does

Thus, we've created a BioPlanner, a tool with a mission for building an integrated green network. It uses satellite data to detect the land use in a given area, colour coded for urban areas, agricultural areas and green areas, and find sustainable ways for cities to grow and agriculture to nourish without disrupting �nature’s balance. For example, BioPlanner gives the impact of a building construction in a given area. Before the building construction is approved, the impact of urbanisation on this area can be measured on wild life, environment, vegetation, and green areas based on satellite data. If the load for the environment is seen too big and disruptive for the natural green areas, the decision regarding the construction can be re-evaluated. For instance, we can prevent the ecosystem to be cut into two separate units.

How we built it

With iphone sdk and ESA's Ramani API Framework, Google maps API

Challenges we ran into

In some cases insufficient documentation of the Ramani API Framework

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Beneficial use for several customer groups, e.g. for governments to make strategic decisions of the landscape and the use of land; for urban planners to balance the green areas in urban landscape; and for architects and construction companies to execute these decisions in their work.

What we learned

Firstly, we learned that satellite data can be used for a broad range of business applications. Secondly, there is a myriad of great use cases and customer groups. As the needs of each customer group may vary, it's better to start from something small and then develop the idea further.

What's next for BioPlanner

Next steps would be to create a network of nodes to connect green areas with the shortest path between them, weight the connections between nodes and determine the hubs of green areas in the network. BioPlanner would highlight if the ecosystem is in danger to be broken up into two separate units and give recommendations of those hubs vital to be preserved to maintain nature’s balance taking into account the importance for biodiversity.

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