Spatial Data Expedites Environmental Protection

How spatial data is being used in natural resources & environmental applications.

Canada is big. Our watersheds and forest corridors cover vast areas, often spanning several administrative regions. For this reason, it can be difficult to effectively monitor and communicate the conditions of the environment as it changes, and also difficult to reach consensus on a plan of action and coordinate on policies between jurisdictions. Lack of coordination between regional governing bodies, short sighted planning and rapid land development have been the peril of the natural environment over the last 100 years or more. Habitat loss, erosion, soil and groundwater depletion and contamination have all taken a toll, and now ambitious plans to mitigate further damage are needed to aid recovery, not just for the intrinsic value of nature, but also for the sustainability of food production, water, air and climate.

Stretching Resources

The first step in any plan to manage natural resources is to survey the greater region and establish what exists and in what condition. Of course this could be done from the ground, but can be time consuming, often involving trekking into remote areas with unknown hazards, not to mention large scale features are not necessarily apparent from the ground. A far more efficient use of resources is to supplement ground inspections with remote sensing data to document, report, and monitor problems. An overview of the land from an aerial perspective makes it simple to classify the land use cover. Multispectral (Infrared) and multitemporal series of imagery allows environmental scientists to assess plant health and quantify changes over time, respectively. Satellite imagery captured on demand where and when as needed for a particular study are typically used for this application. First Base Solutions is able to order this type of satellite imagery on behalf of your company and can perform a variety of image processing services.

Analysis & Activism

The influence of public opinion on governments and corporations has lead to pressure to enforce environmental regulations and include provisions for the environment in the planning process. Getting the big picture through aerial imaging makes it easy to develop strategic plans and evaluate different “what if” scenarios to estimate the environmental impact of proposed alternate routes of highways and utilities, for example, before committing to build. Results in pictures are readily available and understandable to top level decision makers and the general public alike. The ability to easily communicate and share this information in the greater community has raised awareness about the environment and the impact of our activities, both locally and globally, encouraging greater support for the environmental cause.


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