Open Geo AI: Unveiling Satellite Insights through Open Data

Open Geo AI: Unveiling Satellite Insights through Open Data

Podcast details

23rd October 2023

8 Episodes


This podcast series, 'Open Geo AI', is an innovative series that aims to educate and inspire listeners about the powerful synergy between geospatial artificial intelligence, open data policies, and the utilization of satellite data to foster informed decision-making and societal progress. The "Open Geo AI" podcast series will comprise eight enlightening episodes exploring the intricate relationship between open data policies and geospatial artificial intelligence. It will delve into how satellite data, openly accessible, can be harnessed through advanced AI techniques to address pressing challenges across diverse sectors. This series is jointly hosted by the CODATA and Center for Applied Geomatics. It offers a rich collection of conversations, case studies and audio essays. Eminent thinkers, practitioners, public decision-makers, and policy advocates recall, reflect, discuss critical issues, and point out the way forward.

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Introduction to Open Geo AI: Navigating Satellite Data Horizons

The introductory episode of ‘Open Geo AI: Unveiling Satellite Insights through Open Data’ podcast series with Dr Shaily Gandhi, Deputy Center Head, Center for Applied Geomatics, at CEPT Research and Development Foundation & Dr Christine Kirkpatrick, Secretary-General from CODATA. This podcast series is a reflection on how satellite data which is openly accessible, can be harnessed through advanced AI techniques to address pressing challenges across diverse sectors.

Future Frontiers: The Synergistic Road Ahead for Urban Wellbeing

In this podcast on Future Frontiers: The Synergistic Road Ahead for Urban Wellbeing, Dr Ta-Chien Chan and Mr Chinmay Shaligram share their experiences on how the intersection of open-source geospatial data and AI presents an exciting opportunity to shape the future and how spatial data and AI revolutionize fields like Public health, Mobility, Social Sciences and Infrastructure.

Dr Ta-Chien Chan is an executive officer and research fellow at the Center for Geographic Information Science of the Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences (RCHSS) and currently serves as a deputy director of RCHSS in Academia Sinica since 2023. He graduated with a doctoral degree (PhD) from the Institute of Epidemiology, National Taiwan University in 2010. He is an interdisciplinary scholar in both health and spatial science. He took advantage of these two specialities, devoted himself to interdisciplinary research, and translated scientific findings to aid first-line disease control and prevention. In the past five years, he focused on five major research topics, including geo-data visualization, infectious disease surveillance, health impacts from air pollution, noise and green space, behavioural contagion through social networks, and spatial accessibility of health care.

Mr Chinmay Shaligram is a Product Manager rooted in geospatial tech; he has used location data to drive growth and innovation throughout his career. He helps startups build products using vector and raster data efficiently and scale. Previously, he was part of the leadership team that built a custom map stack from scratch for mobility giants Ola, focusing on usability and scalability.

Beyond his professional role, he spearheads GeoPune, a thriving community of geospatial enthusiasts, fostering knowledge exchange in the Pune mapping community. He is a firm supporter of FOSS and an active contributor to OpenStreetMap.

Innovations in Geo AI: Case Studies and Success Stories

In this podcast on Innovations in Geo AI: Case Studies and Success Stories, Tao Wen and Carl Boettiger share real-life success stories at the intersection of open data, AI, and satellite information. From ML models for land-water systems to open science initiatives, explore how diverse sectors leverage time series models, R environments, and NASA's Open Scripts project on AWS Cloud for transformative decision-making.

Tao Wen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Syracuse University. His research interests span from Geochemistry, Environmental Data Science, and Hydrogeology. He joined Syracuse University in 2020 after a postdoctoral study 2017-2020 at Penn State University and finished his Ph.D. in geology in 2017 at the University of Michigan. He received a B.S. in Environmental Sciences in 2011 from the University of Science and Technology of China.

Tao Wen is a geochemist with additional expertise in data sciences driven by a research interest in the interface between humankind and the water cycle. His team uses field-based and geochemical laboratory-based approaches (e.g., noble gases, stable isotopes, and water chemistry) to shed light on the environmental implications of human activities on water resources. His team also develops and applies data science tools to explore the spatiotemporal patterns of coupled water and element cycles at various scales in the coupled natural and human systems.

Carl Boettiger works on problems in ecological forecasting and decision-making under uncertainty, with applications for global change, conservation and natural resource management. I am particularly interested in how we can predict or manage ecological systems that may experience regime shifts sudden and dramatic changes that challenge both our models and available data. The rapid expansion in computational power and the available ecological and environmental data enables and requires new mathematical, statistical and computational approaches to these questions. Ecology has much to learn about what 'is' and 'is not' helpful from advances in informatics & computer science, just as it has from statistics and mathematics. Traditional approaches to ecological modelling and resource management, such as stochastic dynamic systems, Bayesian inference, and optimal control theory, must be adapted to take advantage of all available data while also dealing with its imperfections. My approach blends ecological theory with the synthesis of heterogeneous data and the development of software — a combination now recognized as data science.


Equity and Accessibility: Democratising Satellite Insights

In this podcast on Equity and Accessibility: Democratising Satellite Insights, speakers Rahul Raj and Alexander Dunkel delve into the ethical considerations of open data policies, ensuring equitable access to satellite information, and its crucial role in closing global information gaps. They also discuss how we leverage social media data for ground truth analysis.

Dr Rahul Raj is the Principal research scientist at Pixxel, a satellite manufacturing and data analytics company. Dr Rahul leads the image processing team at Pixxel. He is working in the field of remote sensing, where he has gathered in-depth experience in low-altitude drone-based and high-altitude satellite-based earth observation. His research vision is to lead socially relevant and environment-friendly research programs to impact the current and upcoming generations positively.

Alexander Dunkel is a Senior Scientist at IOER in Dresden, Germany, working at the interface between the Research Data Centre (RDC) and the Transformative Capacities lab (FBT). As a data engineer with a landscape and environmental planning background, Alex sees himself as a link between application-oriented disciplines and fundamental data research. In 2016, Alexander received his PhD from the University of Technology in Dresden with a dissertation focusing on the intersection of crowdsourced data and landscape perception. He then joined the Faculty of Environmental Sciences for the DFG Priority Program „Volunteered Geographic Information: Interpretation, Visualisation and Social Computing“. In his recent work, Alexander has focused on developing integrated solutions for more equitable public participation and decision-making using open-source technology. Alexander has given workshops and presentations on data visualisation at national and international institutions, including the University of Waterloo, the University of Toronto, the UC Berkeley, and the CCA in San Francisco.

Sustainable Development Goals: Satellite Data as a Catalyst for Change

In this podcast, speakers Wael Al-Delaimy and Antony Cooper discuss the interconnected realms of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 3 and 13, delving into the intricate links and synergies between them. Uncover the health impacts of climate change, ranging from direct challenges like heat stress and extreme weather events to indirect consequences such as the spread of disease vectors and food insecurity. The podcast provides an insightful overview of satellite data, examining multispectral and hyperspectral sensors and passive and active recording methods. Dive into the nuances of calibration, georeferencing, and image processing techniques like classification and object-based image analysis for addressing SDG Goals 3 and 13. Join us for a deep dive into the dynamic intersections of health, climate, and satellite technology. Wael Al-Delaimy is a professor of Public Health at the University of California Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health. He is a multidisciplinary chronic diseases epidemiologist working with vulnerable communities locally and globally, focusing on climate change, mental health, and research ethics. He directs four large federal programs on climate change, training of community health workers, and research ethics, as well as a state-wide evaluation program for tobacco control among American Indians in California. He is the Director of the NIH Newly Funded Global Center on Climate Change and Water, Energy, Food, and Health Systems and Joint Director of the Geo Health Hub on Climate and Health in the Middle East and North Africa. His work on climate change involves global capacity building, health policy, and the role of water and climate variables on health. Antony K Cooper is a Principal Researcher at the CSIR and an Extraordinary Lecturer at the University of Pretoria. He holds a PhD and is a Registered Professional GISc Practitioner (PGP). With over 38 years of multidisciplinary experience, his recent activities cover geographical information science theory and applications, standards, urban futures, the circular economy, spatial data infrastructures, volunteered geographical information, crime science, terminology and ethics. Antony has published extensively and held leadership positions in ISO/TC 211, Geographic Information/Geomatics, the International Cartographic Association, CODATA and South Africa’s Committee for Spatial Information.

Satellite Data: From Pixels to Actionable Insights

In this episode, the speakers discuss integrating artificial intelligence techniques in processing and interpreting satellite data, leading to actionable insights and meaningful outcomes. The speakers highlight various use cases of applying Satellite information for health, agriculture and urban sectors.

Mariel Borowitz is an Associate Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology and head of the Nunn School Program on International Affairs, Science, and Technology. Her research deals with international space policy issues, focusing particularly on global developments related to remote-sensing satellites and space security and sustainability challenges. Her book, "Open Space: The Global Effort for Open Access to Environmental Satellite Data," published by MIT Press, examines trends in the development of data-sharing policies governing Earth-observing satellites, as well as interactions with the growing commercial remote sensing sector. Her work has been published in Science, Strategic Studies Quarterly, Space Policy, Astropolitics, and New Space. Grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration support her research.

Divya Sharma is a seasoned technology & innovation leader with 15+ years of diverse industry experience in technology. Currently, Divya leads the data science and machine learning department at SatSure, a full stack Earth Observation company, to create products that enable decision intelligence for enterprises in the Agriculture, Infrastructure and Energy sectors by leveraging the power of AI/ML and Data Science on geospatial data. We are currently solving complex data science problems like Vegetation Management, Crop Classification, and Yield Estimation, to name a few, to build products targeting sustainability challenges like farmer financial inclusion, sustainable agriculture and climate action. Divya and her team have created innovative data models like optical image reconstruction from Synthetic aperture Radar data and super-resolution for the EO data challenges of cloud cover and high costs of high-resolution images using the latest Generative AI algorithms.

Revealing Earth’s Beauty from Space

Exploring the synergy of AI in scientific pursuits, this podcast delves into the transformative role of artificial intelligence in analyzing images captured from space. We unravel the fascinating intersection of human intuition and AI precision as we investigate how these technologies collaborate in reviewing and interpreting space images, offering a unique blend of human touch and advanced computational insights. Join us on a journey through the cosmos, where the marriage of human expertise and AI innovation opens new frontiers in scientific exploration.

In this episode, Dan Barstow, Education Mission Specialist for the Association of Space Explorers and Founding Director of Earth Movie Theater, and Geoffrey Fox, Professor in the Biocomplexity Institute, Initiative and Computer Science Department at the University of Virginia.

Daniel Barstow was Senior Education Manager for the International Space Station US National Lab. In this role, he supported large-scale use of the ISS by students, teachers and the public. Previously, he was Director of TERC’s Center for Earth and Space Science Education, President of the Challenger Learning Center network and Principal Investigator for Windows on Earth, with its breath-taking photos of Earth taken by the astronauts. Now retired, he continues his work with Earth photography from space as an Education Mission Specialist for the Association of Space Explorers and Founding Director of Earth Movie Theater, with its joyous music as you fly over Earth.

Fox received a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Cambridge University, England, as a Senior Wrangler. He is now a Professor in the Biocomplexity Institute & Initiative and Computer Science Department at the University of Virginia. He has supervised the Ph.D. of 78 students. He is a Fellow of APS (Physics) and ACM (Computing) and works on the interdisciplinary interface between applications and computing. He previously contributed to high-performance computing research, and now his focus is on AI for Science.

Open Data Revolution: Empowering Geospatial Innovation

Open satellite data has revolutionized environmental monitoring. NASA has made the Landsat archive open and freely available, while ESA provides free and open access to the Sentinel data. Other countries and private industry are adding to these archives. In this episode, we have Ian McCallum, from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria and  Yuhan Douglas Rao, from North Carolina State University in the US.

Ian McCallum leads the Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability (NODES) Research Group of the Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria. NODES exploits both citizen and data science combined with Earth observations to monitor, analyze, and foster progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The group has over 30 members with expertise in applied research, development, and project management.

Dr Rao is a research scientist with the NC Institute for Climate Studies (NCICS) at North Carolina State University. His current research at NCICS focuses on generating a blended near-surface air temperature dataset by integrating in situ measurements and satellite observations via innovative statistical models. His broad research interests focus on advanced statistical models, satellite data development/validation, land–atmosphere interaction, and applied research for climate and environment monitoring.

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