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2Excel Geo to develop Earth Observation validation engine to analyse condition of roadside trees

Remote sensing technology provider, 2Excel Geo has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme to develop an Earth Observation validation engine for roadside trees. SPRINT funding will enable 2Excel Geo to collaborate with the University of Leicester on the development of an automated ground validation solution. This system will analyse airborne and orbital intelligence to identify trees in roadside locations that may be a risk to road users and obstruct Britain’s road network.

The SPRINT project will combine the use of optical remote sensing with satellite global positioning of data collected from in-car dashboard camera footage to automatically validate tree health classifications derived from Earth Observation data. This will deliver a cost-effective validation tool for assessing the condition of potentially dangerous roadside trees in Britain.

This is 2Excel Geo’s third SPRINT project, following its first successful collaboration with the University of Southampton on a project to remove the impact of cloud shadows from high resolution Earth Observation imagery. It has also collaborated with The Open University to develop ground-validation datasets for the mapping, monitoring and species identification of trees in urban and non-urban environments from airborne platforms.

The latest project will be funded by a grant from the £5 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.

2Excel Geo will also work with SPRINT partner, Satellite Applications Catapult on a Commercialisation Engine Programme that will explore the commercial viability and technical feasibility of 2Excel Geo’s remote sensing solution.

Gary Llewellyn, Remote Sensing Consultant at 2Excel Geo said: “2Excel Geo specialises in data capture and analysing Earth Observation data but with all Earth Observation analysis, ground validation can be a real challenge. This limits the use of the data as it can often be expensive to validate in terms of time, resources and instrumentation.

“SPRINT funding has enabled us to access the expertise of the SPRINT universities for our research and, by working with the University of Leicester on this particular project, we can apply and assess novel validation techniques. This will open up potentially automatable means of validation support for our application of identifying stressed or diseased trees on the sides of roads, thus helping highways authorities to mitigate potential problems or dangers.”

Ivan Tyukin, Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Leicester added: “We’ve been working on how data-driven technology can be used to maintain a stable environment and this project with 2Excel Geo will be our first large-scale trial of that technology with a human element in the loop.

“The user case for the 2Excel Geo application is centred around the environment and sustainability, aimed at delivering rapid feedback to stakeholders on the status of trees and important elements of the environment. The University is looking to engage with 2Excel Geo on a broader research programme around the environment and the use of satellite data.”

Shannon O’Neill, Business Engagement Executive at the Satellite Applications Catapult said: “The Satellite Applications Catapult Business Support team are supporting 2Excel Geo to explore the commercial opportunities of the 2Excel Geo application. We have already completed our first set of business and design sprints and are looking forward to working with the company to further to realise its full ambitions.”