Mallon Technology

Case Study

EO Clinic

The Client

A partnership between the European Space Agency and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusam–menarbeit.  The EO Clinic is a European Space Agency initiative to create a rapid–response mechanism for small–scale and exploratory uses of satellite earth observation information in support of a wide range of International Development projects and activities.

The Problem

The EO Clinic aimed to facilitate and promote increased use of Earth Observation–derived information within the sustainable development community.

Agriculture accounts for 54% of Ethiopia’s Gross Domestic Product, employing 84% of the nation’s population.  According to the ESNA, of this 54%, forestry contributed 3.8% in 2012–2013.  This low figure is due to the lack of a specific service to account for the part of forestry in Ethiopia’s GDP and every economic activity from forestry is accounted as income in non–forest industries.  When considering the fact that Gum and Resin–bearing trees are estimated to cover approximately 3 million ha, potentially producing over 300,000 metric tons of natural gum and resin annually, the forestry sector’s contribution to Ethiopia’s GDP could be significantly higher.  Currently, degradation due to agriculture expansion, overgrazing, fire and poor incense harvesting practices are causing both Gum and resin–bearing species to decline at an alarming rate, which could potentially have an enormous socio–economic impact on the nation.

Due to the nature of Earth Observation data, the potential to monitor vast areas and assess the extent, distribution and health of vegetation is far more accessible than ever before.  By monitoring Gum and Resin–bearing species through the implementation of Earth Observation data, more sustainable practices can be implemented within the region.

What We Did

Mallon worked within a project team consisting of Planetek Hellas (Greece), and SERTIT (France) which was then coordinated be e–GEOS S.p.A (Italy).

The project was split into 3 separate services: the classification of gum and resin tree species, the assessment of vegetation, and the mapping of distinct tree species.  Mallon worked on Service 2 which consisted of assessing the health of vegetation within areas containing gum and resin–bearing trees as provided by Service 1.  Through the use of high–resolution imagery and machine learning techniques, Mallon was accurately able to discern the health status of vegetation within the specified areas of interest.  Vegetation health was broken down into three states, degrading, stable and regenerating.

The entire project was delivered within 9 weeks.

A complete report from the project can be viewed here.

The Benefits

  • Continued economic growth within the region through sustainable forestry activities
  • Support local communities through the implementation of sustainable practices
  • Protection of delicate ecosystems through the continued monitoring of vegetation health within the region