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November 2016

SEED researchers win Copernicus Masters Sustainable Living Challenge

(10 November 2016)

Dr Gail Millin-Chalabi, Dr Ioanna Tantanasi and Dr Stefania Amici from the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) have won first place in the Copernicus Masters Sustainable Living Challenge, with EnviroSAR, a UK wildfire monitoring service that uses satellite Earth Observation data.

Fire and Rescue Services spend around £55 million every year fighting UK wildfires that damage unique habitats such as the UK’s moorlands and heathlands, and discolour drinking water supplies, creating clean-up costs estimated at around £80 million nationally every five years for water companies alone.

The EnviroSAR service will help to understand patterns of UK wildfires, target land management, peat restoration, reseeding and reduce water discolouration and its associated costs.

The monitoring and detection tool is based on a new analysis technique developed by the researchers to interpret Synthetic Aperture Radar and optical data, which will use the Copernicus Sentinel Earth Observation satellites to deliver ‘burnt-area’ imagery.

Gail said: “Winning the Sustainable Living Challenge is already enabling our team to contribute and forge key connections to the Earth Observation community, through attending the excellent Copernicus Accelerator Programme and by becoming members of the Satellite Applications Catapult community. We are extremely motivated and focused to grow EnviroSAR over the coming months, using the excellent platform that winning this challenge has provided.”