Mallon Technology

Case Study

European Space Agency’s EO Clinic

The Client

The United Nations Development Programme through the European Space Agency’s EO Clinic.  The EO Clinic provides rapid–response satellite Earth Observation solutions for International Development projects. 

The Problem

The EO Clinic sought to provide services in support of the United Nations Development Programme to assess the COVID–19 Impact on Agricultural Practices in Moldova.

During the COVID–19 pandemic, many Moldovans living in Western Europe began to return to the country, with many seeking employment opportunities in the agricultural sector.  Approximately 70% of the Moldovan population live in rural areas that depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and with limitations placed on mobility due to the pandemic the additional influx of previously expatriated citizens created a complex situation that has the possibility to impact on food production and supply chains.

To large extent, Geospatial Earth Observation data is missing and not used in Moldova for development purposes.  during the COVID–19 pandemic EO data was urgently required to provide for:

  • Additional evidence around what was happening on the ground
  • Improve situational awareness of the local authorities around COVID–19 and its spread
  • Support in assessing the immediate and long–term social and economic impacts of COVID–19
  • Support in building an Early Warning System for the government of the Republic of Moldova

What We Did

Mallon worked within a project team consisting of e–GEOS (Italy) and ITHACA (Italy) that was comprised of 8 people, 3 of which were from Mallon.

The project was split into 2 separate services.  Mallon worked on Service 1 which consisted of cropland distribution and status.  Using EO methods, Mallon was able to derive cultivated areas and crop distribution over the area of interest.  Further detail was also captured to further characterise crop status: start, peak and end (harvest) of season dates, including management (ploughing etc.).

In addition to the current year, analysis was completed on the years 2017, 2018 and 2019, focusing on maize, wheat and barley crops.  The completed analysis was able to identify anomalies of the current crop area extent and status compared to previous years.  this helped in the assessment of the impacts and risks associated with the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID–19 pandemic.  All analysis was performed at the scale of Sentinel–2 spatial resolution.

The entire project was delivered within an 8 week period.

A complete report from the project can be viewed here.

The Benefits

  • Support of annual drought localisation and damage evaluation with annual crop maps (spring, winter and permanent crops)
  • Support to the European Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) integrating results with Geospatial datasets such as the Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS)
  • Support for a new agronomic plans (policy justification) for future sustainability and local adaptation (e.g. move from rainfed maize to irrigation areas, other crops, change varieties, cultivars, type of cultivation methods etc.)