Scientists are discovering how land management impacts the environment
Experts who are revolutionising agricultural practices have joined forces with Leicester scientists to develop a monitoring tool that tracks the environmental outcome of land management.
Agtelligence takes complex earth observation data and simplifies it to enable businesses to take action to help the environment.
It is now working with scientists from the University of Leicester and Space Park Leicester on an innovative project that examines how land management impacts soil health, biodiversity, water and carbon.
The initiative has received funding from the UK Space Agency and uses data from the Sentinel-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite which provides high-quality data on the Earth’s surface.
Agtelligence chief executive officer Nima Eskandari explained one of the advantages of Sentinel-1 is its ability to acquire radar data in all weather conditions and at any time of day, making it a valuable tool for monitoring environmental changes in the UK where cloud cover or darkness limits observation.
He added: “Our research is pushing the boundaries of what can be observed and inferred from satellites and developing metrics that help us understand how land management impacts soil health, biodiversity, water and carbon.
“We will use and distribute our results fairly and equally, connecting everyone to landscapes around them through our web-based platform FarmScore ®.
“Once we’re able to quantify the environmental outcomes, we can begin using this information to introduce the right interventions at the right time to support the environment.
“Environmental projects can help improve communities’ health and well-being by reducing pollution levels, providing access to clean water, and promoting sustainable practices.
“They can also create new job opportunities in sustainable industries, which can help to reduce poverty and inequality.”
Professor Heiko Balzter, Professor of Physical Geography and Director of the Centre for Landscape and Climate at the University of Leicester, added: “The University of Leicester is working with Agtelligence on the development of radar imaging for agricultural tillage.
“Tillage practices are important for soil health, soil carbon stocks, the water balance and crop yield.”
The scientists are now in the process of finalising a prototype that can evaluate arable farms in Hertfordshire. Their goal is to complete it in the coming months and eventually expand it across the UK.
Agtelligence is also planning to recruit a Full Stack Software Developer and a Chief Technology Officer and is currently searching for investors who share its passion for the environment and recognise the impact of climate change on it.
The organisation has also recently graduated from the European Space Agency – Business Incubation Centre (ESA-BIC) programme at Harwell and is collaborating with Space4Climate.
ESA-BIC (UK) at Leicester is a route for SMEs to develop technologies for the Space industry. Successful applicants receive a programme of technical support from the University of Leicester’s leading Space and Earth Observation scientists as well as business support. The deadline for the next ESA-BIC is September 18. Further details are available at https://www.space-park.co.uk/innovation/esa-bic/