Musselburgh based Earth Observation (EO) specialists Astrosat have teamed up with Scotland and Germany-based Machine Intelligence experts Intelligent Reality for a NatureScot project to provide Better Targeted Information for Land Managers and Developers on protected sites in Scotland. The partnership has been selected from a field of 24 tech companies to develop the product under a challenge funded through the UK wide GovTech Catalyst Challenge.
Most protected sites in Scotland, for example, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), are on private land. Landowners often seek guidance from NatureScot on what they can or can’t do to develop or improve a site. The new system will make the wealth of information that NatureScot and other bodies have in their archives accessible to landowners, or anyone with an interest, to help them understand the features that are under protection, and how proposed changes might improve or damage those features.
Astrosat’s EO capability will help to inform NatureScot’s site monitoring responsibilities, while Intelligent Reality’s adaptive data intelligence will extract sense from the mass of information. Together they will provide insights on whether the protected feature is improving or declining, and how any changes might affect the trend. The clever number crunching will be handled by Intelligent Reality’s self-organising neural networks, with all the information presented using Astrosat’s state-of-the-art geospatial data visualisation and analysis platform ORBIS.
Steve Lee, Astrosat CEO said: “Better Information for land managers epitomises every pro-environmental good that Astrosat stands for. We are thrilled to be working with NatureScot and Intelligent Reality on this project, which is the perfect application for demonstrating the power of ORBIS by Astrosat.”
Richard Harris, Intelligent Reality CEO added: “Intelligent Reality is about making sense of the real world using big data. We are delighted to bring the unique capabilities of our analytic platform to the impact of human activity on the natural environment. This project with NatureScot and Astrosat will help to put Scotland at the global forefront of environmental forecasting.”
Brian Eardley, NatureScot’s Protected Areas Manager, affirmed,
“It’s vital that any proposals for change on protected areas don’t compromise, and indeed preferably enhance, these sites. However, one of the biggest problems land managers, developers or interested members of the public often encounter is getting hold of the relevant information they need and getting it quickly.
“This project aims to revolutionise that process with a platform that can predict potential impacts on protected areas and provide immediate tailored information and advice for any specific site.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
GovTech Catalyst is a £20 million fund, established to help solve public sector problems (called ‘challenges’) using innovative digital technology. To be selected for funding, the public sector team must describe a current public sector service or policy delivery problem which: has no current solution, needs an innovative digital solution, and will bring better public services or reduce costs. They must also be willing to buy the digital solution at the end of the process. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/govtech-catalyst-overview
NatureScot is Scotland’s nature agency. It works to improve our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. https://www.nature.scot/
Astrosat is an Earth Observation company that specialises in combining freely available satellite data with ground data to derive insights that enhance the understanding of challenges on Earth. https://astrosat.net/
Intelligent Reality creates adaptive data intelligence, providing insight and forecasting to support decision making in diverse, rapidly changing and generally ‘messy’ data environments. Our particular focus is on societal challenges, ranging from Covid-19 analytics and forecasting to predictive analytics for the natural environment against human impact and net zero. https://intelligentreality.co/