Microsoft and Planet team up to provide artificial intelligence and satellite data in Africa


Planet Labs and Microsoft announced an expanded partnership to apply artificial intelligence (AI) technology and satellite data to support African climate adaptation projects.

This technology collaboration supports Microsoft’s recently announced first global expansion of its AI for Good Labs in Nairobi, Kenya and Cairo, Egypt and the establishment of a corresponding AI Innovation Council with local partners and non-profit organizations.

Through this program, Africa-based data scientists will have access to Planet satellite imagery of the entire African continent to inform projects, as nominated by the AI ​​Innovation Council, that have a specific focus on systems. Early warning and climate adaptation: the adjustment process. to the current or projected effects of climate change.

“This is proof of the visible and actionable change that AI and satellite data can offer to solve complex problems, whether in humanitarian action, sustainability or health.”

“Two things our Planet and Microsoft teams share is a strong bias toward action and doing the greatest good at the greatest scale,” he said. Andrew Zolli, Planet’s director of impact. “Once we were able to see how impactful the combination of AI and satellite data could be, not just technically, but how impactful it can be when in the right hands, we immediately started thinking about the complex problems we could tackle: humanitarian aid, the climate change, food and energy insecurity, etc.”

Global Observation of Renewable Energy

The two companies, along with The Nature Conservancy, announced today on Energy Day at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), that interested users can now sign up for private previews of Global Renewables Watch (GRW), a first-of-its-kind living atlas aimed at mapping and measuring all utility-scale solar and wind installations on Earth using artificial intelligence (AI) and satellite imagery, enabling users to assess the progress of the clean energy transition and track trends over time.

The GRW team also presented the full mapping of solar and wind installations in Kenya, Brazil and Egypt, joining the mapped renewable energy sites in Germany and India that were announced during the GRW launch in September 2022. The record of private preview is available at: https:/ /www.globalrenewableswatch.org/

Assessment of damage to buildings in Ukraine

The first collaboration that brought Microsoft and Planet together earlier this year was for the United Nations Office of the Secretary-General, working alongside the UN Operations and Crisis Center (UNOCC) to monitor schools, hospitals, and water, sanitation , hygiene and healthcare waste. management infrastructure (WASH) across Ukraine to understand who and what had been affected.

UNOCC supports senior UN leadership in decision-making, situational awareness, risk and crisis management. In response to the invasion of Ukraine and in preparation for future similar situations, the goal was to develop a robust change detection system, leveraging AI and satellite-based technologies, that would circumvent the traditional challenges inherent in damage assessment and support the scale and speed necessary for ground crews to respond effectively.

The team surveyed eight Ukrainian provinces, combining UNOCC field reports with Microsoft AI and machine learning models as well as Planet satellite data, to identify and determine if infrastructure was affected or destroyed, and approximate the date the damage occurred.

From these mapping assessments, the team was able to determine how many people were affected, by comparing confirmation of damaged schools or hospitals to the size of the student body or number of registered patients.

“Previously, for these places where they couldn’t be on site, UNOCC had no documented or reliable evidence of damage to buildings. Through this project, the UN team now has a full account of not only the affected infrastructure, but also the displaced and vulnerable populations those buildings serve,” he said. Juan Lavista Ferres, Microsoft Vice President and Chief Data Scientist. “This is proof of the visible and actionable change that AI and satellite data can offer to solve complex problems, whether in humanitarian action, sustainability or health.”

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