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Email Alerts for Remotely Sensed Changes – Using web enabled services to change the world for the better!


What do you think when you hear about displaced Mashco-Piro Indians, vanishing wildlife, and starving woodpeckers?   All are direct results of illegal logging. The story, “Eyes in the sky aim to cut down illegal logging” (Reuters) caught my eye as yet another excellent example of how the decreasing costs of data, hardware, and software make remote sensing data analysis more approachable by increasing disciplines. Not only that – but I was struck by the mention of rolling this vast array of information into web enabled services. This is yet another example putting us on the precipice of a new and modern realm of how we can utilize all this data.

The World Resources Institute plans to launch a new version of Global Forest Watch – a web-enabled service that focuses on forest change using 16-day temporal data (provided by NASA satellites) at 500x500 meter resolution. These web tools will enable interactive selection of areas of interest and near real-time forest change information.

Now for the modern-day twist: drum roll… Users can request an email alert if there is a change above a set threshold over their area of interest! The system also enables investors to check a palm oil supplier for their environmental compliance status. What’s more is the vision to eventually supply real-time information, enabling authorities to catch illegal loggers red-handed. Now that would be something!

How do you envision the world of remote sensing will change as web-enabled services are implemented? Do you have ideas or examples of capabilities that would impact your world?


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