SpaceSense SOC - SOC Recommended Farming Practices detection

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Objectives of the service


Image credit: SpaceSense, Project :SpaceSense SOC

Ag & soil companies, food supply chain companies and insurance companies are looking for ways to accurately estimate the Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) stock in agricultural fields to trade this in emerging carbon credit markets. Unfortunately they currently have to rely on very complex models that require a lot of ground information to work, and they need to send people in the fields to get this data. This is not scalable.

Our service will be used by these companies as input into their own models that would incorporate other data sources (ground based), to provide an accurate representation of Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) stock.

The need for the services we want to develop is rather simple: Provide the companies mentioned above a way to check on Recommended Farming Practices (RFP) at costs that are competitive. Through our service they get the information, which they can use to calculate the final SOC stored in the ground.

Like all our other detectors, they will be available via a yearly subscription, which will enable our customers to connect directly to our API to get the analysed data.

Users and their needs

We target several user types:

  • Soil specialised companies which provide SOC information
  • Farm management solutions looking to integrate SOC as one of their service
  • Insurance companies looking to assess environmental performances of some of their clients

Their needs are as follows:

  • Get enough field information to build an SOC estimation without sending people on the field
  • Get a way to check the farmer’s reports
  • Have the solution integratable into their internal database and environment

We mainly aim for companies in Europe and North America

Service/ system concept

Each of our three solution is made available through an API to be delivered directly into the user’s environment. Here are the specificities for each product:

Here is a quick reminder of the three detectors we aim to develop:

  • Cover Crop Flag API: 
    • User input: A field borders and two dates 
    • API Output: A list of periods in between the two given dates where the provided field was covered by a cover crop
  • Crop Rotation API: 
    • User input: A field borders and two dates 
    • API Output: The dates of each crop cycle identified and it’s growth pattern in between the two given dates for the provided field.
  • Tilling flag API:
    • User input: A field borders and two dates
    • API Output: The dates of identified tilling event in between the two given dates for the provided field.

We achieve these solutions by combining Sentinel 1 and 2 data, time series and some internal algorithms, that we then make available through APIs on a cloud.

Space Added Value

As you’ve seen so far in the application, satellite imagery is the core of our products. Without it, they cannot exist. We use the entire archive of optical and radar data from Sentinel 1 & 2 extensively to train our models for each new image released in order to provide a field assessment. We leverage the highest available spatial and temporal resolutions when possible. Non-space technologies that provide field level assessments of carbon sequestration potential are single snapshots in time and require extensive time for fieldwork. Satellite technologies allow us to provide the same sort of assessments, remotely and continuously.

We access the satellite imagery either directly via the Copernicus, the DIAS, Sentinel-Hub or AWS, depending on the use case. We then store it on our servers to use it

The alternative to satellite imagery is using drones, or sending people on the field, which is not scalable at a country level for both cases. Satellite imagery is the only solution here.

Current Status

At the time of the MTR, this was the status:

  • Cover Crop Flag: R&D done with satisfactory results. Waiting for the API integration
  • Crop Rotation Flag: R&D done with satisfactory results. Waiting for the API integration
  • Tilling Flag: R&D underway

We held 10 different meetings with potential customers to understand their needs and the level of accuracy expected. There is still refinement required to perfectly understand in which form the integration would be best.

We encountered a few difficulties, especially linked to a grey area on the French government’s technical expectations, which are being solved in the coming weeks.

Status Date

Updated: 21 September 2021 - Created: 21 September 2021