ForestAI - Global Forest Monitoring using Satellite Imagery and Artificial Intelligence

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Objectives of the service

Vision Impulse offers an advanced forest monitoring solution that leverages Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Earth Observation (EO) data to deliver significant economic value to customers. The product, a forest-specific monitoring solution, addresses forest management and deforestation monitoring use cases for customers from the forest industry, primarily precision forest service providers and forest managers. 

Continuous monitoring is combined with an early warning system to meet customer needs in time-critical use cases such as monitoring deforestation activities.

The business model is based on automated and innovative AI-based analysis of forest stands using EO data and builds on Vision Impulse’s existing analysis system tailored to forestry. As a spin-off of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, Vision Impulse can draw on many years of experience in the research/development and application of AI methods for the targeted information extraction from EO imagery collected by different satellites. The solution is offered as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution with varying streams of revenue and pricing structures.

Users and their needs

ForestAI service offering is primarily aimed at the following three user groups: Forestry precision service providers, forest owners (associations), and forest administrations (private and public).

The customers and their users are in charge of the management of large-scale forest areas. They currently lack tools that provide easy and quick access to information for decision-making about their forest areas. This information includes up-to-date maps of forest projects, timely warnings of forest changes, forest health maps, forest risk maps, damage reports, and tools for communicating between forest owners and third parties. Vision Impulse addresses these needs by providing customers/users with several forest-specific information layers through an automated forest monitoring solution based on EO data and AI.

Users from the insurance and financial sectors and the timber industry can also benefit from forestry monitoring services.

Service/ system concept

Vision Impulse offers a global AI-based solution for forest monitoring that comprises a complete geo processing pipeline, ranging from (1) EO data acquisition, (2) data pre-processing, (3) extraction of relevant information using several AI methods to (4) data post-processing. 

To do this, Vision Impulse can draw on innovative technologies that have been developed in the past years and are used in research and industrial applications. These AI methods allow classifying, segmenting objects, detecting changes and anomalies, or extracting domain-specific information from EO imagery. Vision Impulse's forestry service focuses on the following aspects:

  • Continuous monitoring of forestry projects
  • Detection of deforestation and warning system
  • Management and verification of sustainable forest use

The extracted information layers are easily accessible through Vision Impulse's web application and can be integrated into third-party solutions of partners.

Space Added Value

The solution relies on a number of Earth observation satellites to provide a comprehensive view of the Earth. Therefore, imagery from the Copernicus mission, Landsat mission, and Planet are analyzed together.

As part of the Copernicus mission, Sentinel-1 imagery is used to treat clouds and track changes over time. With the multispectral bands of Sentinel-2 imagery, Vision Impulse can determine forest vitality, extract information about tree species, and detect anomalies. Imagery from Planet can further be used to increase the spatial resolution for critical areas of interest.

Current Status

The Kickstart activity was successfully completed. While engaging with customers, Vision Impulse met with great interest from potential customers and gathered numerous user requirements. A service architecture and concept to capture the commercial business opportunity was developed. In addition, Vision Impulse demonstrated the technical feasibility of the service for regions on a global scale to customers. Vision Impulse is currently in discussions with interested customers and stakeholders for a subsequent demonstrator project.

Status Date

Updated: 21 September 2021 - Created: 21 September 2021