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Last Week in Earth Observation: July 17, 2023
Building footprints, thermal imagery, land surface temperature, the sound of the wind from space, how to support/work with TerraWatch newsletter and more.
Welcome to a new, belated edition of ‘Last Week in Earth Observation’, containing a summary of major developments in EO from last week and some thoughts on the sector I have come to love.
In this edition: Building footprints, thermal imagery, land surface temperature, the sound of wind from space, how to support/work with the TerraWatch newsletter and more.
Four Curated Things
Major developments in EO from the past week
1. Contractual Stuff: Funding, Contracts and Deals 💰
HawkEye360, which operates a constellation of satellites monitoring radio frequency signals, raised $58M in a Series D-1 funding round;
Muon Space was awarded a contract by the US Space Force to evaluate the use of ionospheric data from the MuSat-2 satellite mission for operational weather forecasting and climate change assessments;
OceanMind, a UK-based non-profit organisation in the maritime domain has extended the contract with Spire for the use of AIS vessel-tracking data.
2. Strategic Stuff: Partnerships and Announcements 📈
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it will invest $300M in products that enable measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions and soil carbon in the agriculture/forestry sector;
The UK’s Ordnance Survey is collaborating with Esri, Deloitte and Planet to establish the Supply Chain Data Partnership which aims to provide location datasets for global supply chains;
Carbon Mapper, a US-based non-profit organisation that is collaborating with NASA, Planet among others, released updates to their Data Portal, providing access to methane plumes from many countries and sectors;
3. Interesting Stuff: More News 🗞️
The Brazilian government announced that deforestation in the country reduced by about 34% during the first six months of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s term, based on findings from satellite data;
Analysis from the Copernicus Climate Change Service showed that there was record warmth in global surface air and sea surface temperatures during the month of June 2023;
Recent flooding events in the US, South Korea, India and Japan and extreme heat in Europe are starting to raise concerns and questions about the pace of climate change.
4. Click-Worthy Stuff: Check These Out 🔗
This piece that provides an overview of the emerging wave of EO companies acquiring thermal infrared data for various applications;
This article from ESA that discusses the ongoing heatwave in Europe with data from the Sentinel-3 mission that measures land surface temperature (LST) - this is not air temperature, as it is usually misquoted;
This piece that highlights how cities can use LST data from satellites to manage heatwaves better and build efficient adaptation plans.
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Scene from Space Heard in Space One visual One soundtrack leveraging EO
5. The Sound of the Wind from Space
Typically, in this section, I share a visual that leverages satellite data, but, this one is a little unique and quite remarkable.
Aeolus is one of my favourite EO missions - it was launched in 2018 by ESA and was the first satellite to measure global wind profiles from space using a laser. The wind data from Aeolus was so good that many meteorological agencies have integrated it into their weather forecasting models. Almost five years later, the mission has ended and the satellite is now on its way back to Earth, guided by ESA in a pioneering effort that will set standards for reentry procedures.
Last week, ESA released an orchestral music piece that was composed using an orchestral wind sonification technique that uses data spanning the mission’s entirety. As ESA notes, “the pitch, length and loudness of musical notes were created by transforming a variety of Aeolus’ data types into musical parameters, mapped onto the ranges of different wind instruments”. How cool is that!
About working with me
6. How to support/work with the TerraWatch newsletter?
Many of you have reached out to give feedback on this newsletter and have said plenty of nice things, so first of all, thank you. Two of the most common questions I get asked regarding my work, specifically this newsletter:
Individuals: “How can I support you for all the work you are doing?”
Companies: “How can we work with you on a formal basis?”
For at least 80% of my working time, I provide consulting services via TerraWatch Space - I work on strategic assignments including market studies, business plans, go-to-market assessments, commercial due diligence work, EO adoption strategies etc. So, if you have a need there, just get in touch!
For the rest of the time, most likely, including the weekends, I act as an analyst, a communicator and a content creator - whether it is through this newsletter, the podcast (in recess) or posting on social media. Normally, they are part of what I call non-billable hours as I do not get officially paid for that. However, over the past few months, I have gradually started monetising these activities - through sponsored newsletter ads, newsletter subscriptions, sponsored content and more.
Getting back to the questions, as always, here is a visual to help you understand. Hope this helps!
Sponsored Content: A featured deep-dive of an organisation or a product or an innovation on this blog, written with an intent to evangelise, not advertise (more on my thinking behind sponsored content here).
If you want to collaborate or learn more, just hit reply!
EO Conferences 2023
We are more than halfway through the year. Check out what’s in store for the rest of 2023, with respect to EO conferences, workshops and other events.
As always, if you have suggestions, use the form on the page to let me know!
Until next time,