Microsoft & Planet collaborate to provide artificial intelligence and satellite data in Africa


Planet Labs and Microsoft have announced an expanded partnership to apply artificial intelligence (AI) technology and satellite data to support African climate adaptation projects.

This technology collaboration supports Microsoft’s recently announced first-world AI expansion of Good Labs in Nairobi, Kenya and Cairo, Egypt and the establishment of a similar AI Innovation Council with local partners and non-profit organizations.

Through this programme, data scientists in Africa will have access to Planet satellite imagery from across the African continent to inform projects, as nominated by the AI ​​Innovation Council, that focus specifically on early warning systems and climate adaptation – the process of adjusting for existing impacts or projected climate change.

“This is evidence of the visible and actionable change that AI and satellite data can bring to solve complex problems, whether that be in humanitarian action, sustainability or health.”

“Two things that the Planet and Microsoft teams have in common are a very strong bias for action and for maximum benefit on the best scale,” he said. Andrew Zoli, Planet’s chief impact officer. “Once we’re able to see how impactful the combination of AI and satellite data can be, not just from a technical point of view, but how impactful it can be when we’re in the right hands, we immediately start thinking about the complex problems we can go after – humanitarian aid, climate change.” , food and energy insecurity, etc.”

Global Watch for Renewable Energy Resources

The two companies, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, announced today on Energy Day at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2022 (COP27) that interested users can now register for private previews of the Global Renewables Watch (GRW), a first-of-its-kind living atlas aimed at aims to map and measure all of Earth’s solar and wind installations using artificial intelligence (AI) and satellite imagery, allowing users to assess the progress of the clean energy transition and track trends over time.

The GRW team also unveiled full maps of solar and wind installations in Kenya, Brazil and Egypt, joining the designated renewable energy sites in Germany and India that were announced during GRW’s launch in September 2022. Sign-up for the private preview is available at: https://www. globalrenewableswatch.org/

Building damage assessment in Ukraine

The first collaboration between Microsoft and Planet earlier this year was for the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General, which works alongside the United Nations Operations and Crisis Center (UNOCC) to monitor schools, hospitals, water, sanitation and hygiene, and healthcare waste. Infrastructure management (WASH) across Ukraine to understand who and what has been affected.

UNOCC supports the senior leadership of the United Nations in decision-making, situational awareness, and risk and crisis management. In response to the invasion of Ukraine and in preparation for similar situations in the future, the goal was to develop a robust change detection system, harnessing artificial intelligence and satellite-based technologies, that would bypass traditional challenges of damage assessment and support the scale and speed needed for ground teams to respond effectively.

The team surveyed eight Ukrainian states, pairing UNOCA ground reports with Microsoft artificial intelligence and machine learning models on top of Planet’s satellite data, in order to identify and determine if infrastructure was affected or destroyed, and approximate the date when it occurred. Harm.

From these mapping assessments, the team was then able to determine the number of people affected, by comparing the confirmation of affected schools or hospitals with the size of the student body or the number of patients enrolled.

“Prior to this, for these locations where they were unable to be on site, UNOCC did not have documented or credible evidence of building damage. Through this project, the UN team now has a full account of not only the damaged infrastructure, but also for the displaced and vulnerable populations those buildings served.” Juan La Vista Ferris, Microsoft Vice President and Chief Data Scientist. “This is evidence of the visible and actionable change that AI and satellite data can bring to solve complex problems, whether that be in humanitarian action, sustainability or health.”

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