Glasgow tech firm trumpets success at tracking elephants from space
A Glasgow tech firm is trumpeting its success in helping conservationists track African elephants from space.
Four-person company EOLAS Insight Ltd is taking part in a unique project to count the number of elephants in Southern Mozambique.
The firm landed a contract from the European Space Agency to conduct the megafauna census using high-resolution imagery from satellites and artificial intelligence.
Working with Peace Parks Foundation, an organisation dedicated to preserving natural habitats, the former Civtech alumnus will scan national park areas as an alternative to helicopter-based surveys.
Fellow Glasgow tech firm Omanos Analytics, a business which uses downstream satellite data analysis and on-the-ground intelligence to improve transparency and reduce risk around the social and environmental impacts of critical infrastructure projects, will also take part in the project.
Doug McNeil, EOLAS managing director, said: “Technology can play a key role in tackling what is arguably the biggest challenge facing humankind – conservation and the climate crisis. Detecting animals in satellite imagery will have its place in preservation projects of the future, and we are incredibly excited to be the first UK company to demonstrate this capability.
“It was through the CivTech accelerator experience that we were able to refine this process by working closely with NatureScot to develop the use of satellite imagery to track animals. It’s exciting for us to continue to develop this on a larger scale and work in new markets with proven technology. In the future through work with the Geovation programme run by Registers of Scotland and Ordinance Survey, we will create a web-based platform for allowing the user direct access to our methodology algorithms.
“There are so many hugely powerful new technologies available for environmental professionals and ecologists, however accessing these technologies can be a job in itself. At EOLAS we want to take the complexity out of technology and provide invaluable information to our customers. Our hope is that we can help them in some small way in their hugely important and timely work.”
The work of EOLAS Insight Ltd is based on previous projects the firm conducted with NatureScot as part of the CivTech Accelerator Programme in 2020, which used similar techniques to monitor Scotland’s wild red deer. This project combined imagery collected by satellite and light aircraft to detect the animals. It is hoped that in future it will offer a greener and cheaper alternative to helicopter-based counts.
This innovative approach could vastly improve the monitoring of threatened elephant populations across a wide range of habitats. The data EOLAS helps to collect is also used to classify the animals’ habitats and identify potential risks such as the likelihood of wildfires. As the technique does not depend on people on the ground, it can be used in remote areas, supporting efforts such as counter-poaching.
The pandemic has taught me how to share more – and I feel a better leader for it
As a young professional starting out in the tech sector 30 years ago, I thrived on the fast pace,constant change and demanding workload. I lived in London, Singapore and Australia…
We need to shout about our successes. Liz Fletcher on celebrating women in biotech
Throughout my career in biotechnology and life sciences, I have seen many women leading ground-breaking research studies in their fields of expertise. Yet, and I include myself in this, we…
Getting the best out of patient data is key to unlocking future health benefits in Scotland
It is important that clinicians’ voices are heard in the consultation around Scotland’s new health and care data strategy, which closes this week (12 August). Busy GPs like myself are the trusted…
How motherhood helped me be a better leader
Consider this an open letter to anyone I have worked with before I became a mother and before I fully understood how being a parent is actually a prized asset…
‘We cannot achieve our goals without entrepreneurs’ – Kate Forbes on vision for new ‘tech scaler’ network
From the very start of my ministerial career, I have had responsibility for the Scottish tech sector – and I can still say what I have said from the start,…
Finding a role in cyber was ‘tough’ for Cheryl Torano. Now she’s determined to help other women join an under-represented industry
When I decided to upskill to change careers at the age of 30 and dive into the digital world, I knew I would be starting out at the bottom of…
Why innovation and marketing are the perfect partners to make changes that matter￼
With the rapid evolution of traditional marketing and the appearance of digital marketing, technology and innovation has become part of any marketer’s life without the need of working for a…
Transitioning to a four-day week – CEO’s vow to strike a healthier balance in the workplace
I came to Scotland nearly 20 years ago from Ireland, with no contacts but a lot of determination. While Ireland will always be my home, Scotland has given me amazing…