Urban Dynamics Observation Service
Using satellite data and machine learning to monitor land surface processes.
Ubicube is an Austrian high tech startup that uses satellite data and machine learning to monitor land surface processes. Ubicubes’ mission is to leverage space technology to better understand the built environment of our planet and to enable our clients in real estate and the energy sector to make better informed and more sustainable decisions.
Accurate information about the current extent of built-up areas and their change over time is not only crucial for sustainable urban development but also relevant for commercial applications in different industries (e.g., real estate). In that context, ubicube developed a promising pilot base service: the high-resolution built-up detection with continuous/regular monitoring.
The literature has tremendous scientific studies that prove the feasibility of monitoring urban structures by satellite data from various sensors. Which can help to satisfy our customers’ need to get ready-to-use information about urban dynamics down to the individual property-level, without the hassle of having the experience and the knowledge in processing satellite images.
Therefore, ubicube is developing a prototype system for monitoring built-up areas. The UDOS pilot intends to develop this system further and certify its transferability and its extensibility to larger geographic areas. The API service relies on data from the Copernicus Sentinel program, to quarterly map the built-up areas and monitor their change. The novelty of the proposed service is its flexibility to be tailored to the needs of the real estate and energy industry for different use cases: e.g., robust, scalable, and property-level insights. That is, ubicubes’ service facilitates the outreach of the created information by enabling access to highly accurate geodata through a consistent and scientifically-sound monitoring system.
In the pilot the C-SCALE Compute and Data Federation service are used to improve, scale and validate ubicubes’ satellite data enabled urban dynamics monitoring service. The overall aim is to produce an urban extent monitoring system with unprecedented temporal and spatial resolutions that can be used for various use cases from the national to the local scale, enabling insights down to the individual property level.
More specifically, the overarching objectives of the pilot are:
- Investigate potential improvements to the current algorithm by incorporating interferometric coherence. Then, optimize the accuracy of the extracted information on the built-up area and systemize both quantitative and qualitative accuracy routines. The routines use measures such as the number of successfully detected settlements and built-up areas.
- Extend spatially the implementation of the created service to cover the settlement area in Austria and Germany. Initially, the service is monitoring an area of roughly 7000km², the goal is to provide the quarterly service for the settlement areas of the two countries (roughly 270.000 km²). This is achievable by adopting a consistent process in ubicubes’ system to run the computations through patches with convenient sizes and track the algorithm performance by conducting a comparative analysis among these blotches.
- Activity 1, November 2022: map the issues and potential improvements in the preliminary pilot application
- Activity 2, December 2022: create revised service prototypes, conduct a team meeting and discuss the proposed design. The milestone will be to pinpoint the elements that work and fix and develop what does not.
- Activity 3, January 2022 (milestone): Present the proposed new service with preliminary results in different test areas at different scales to a set of potential clients and gather their initial feedback.
- Activity 4, Februray 2022: Begin to conduct implementation sprints through C-SCALE services to improve and optimize the application, including design revisions.
- Activity 5, March 2023: Once the product quality has been tested and approved, the new step would be to complete the full-scale development cycle.
- Activity 6, April 2023 (milestone): conduct a final round of feedback. Ensure the processing pipeline for the full-scale service through C-SCALE is optimized and launch the service.