Wildfire mapping service to harness Earth observation, cloud computing and AI

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IT and business consulting services company CGI says it has been awarded a contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a new wildfire mapping service that combines recent advances in Earth observation (EO), artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing to improve the mapping and monitoring of the impact of wildfires.

CGI and its project partner, the University of Leicester, UK, are working with nationally mandated user organizations from Australia (Geoscience Australia) and France (ONF France) to implement and demonstrate EO services based on their requirements for improved wildfire risk management. The consortium will evaluate a variety of AI algorithms that could help meet these requirements.

It is expected that combining the machine learning capabilities of these AI algorithms with the increased availability of frequent, high-quality satellite observations will allow better burnt-area mapping products to be generated where and when users want them.

The resulting AI-enabled wildfire mapping service will be made available to Geoscience Australia and ONF France, as well as the wider environmental community, through the EO4SD Lab portal. This online data portal, which has been developed by CGI for ESA, utilizes cloud computing to provide the sustainable development and wider environmental community with free access to a range of EO data, tools and services.

Tara McGeehan, president of CGI in UK and Australia, said, “We are excited to be part of this cutting-edge project that brings to bear the potential of AI to help the scientific and environmental community better understand the extent and impact of damaging wildfires throughout the world. Our ongoing partnership with ESA for EO and Thematic Exploitation Platforms is enabling rapid progress in monitoring the Earth’s environment to support scientific research and government policy.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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