2. Solving Climate Change: Finding what you need

How do you go about finding the resources that you need? 

Generally for new projects, Ecometrica start with a literature review of current methodologies and spatial datasets being used – for example for biomass mapping methods for different forest types or what new datasets are available to map deforestation risk like population density or land use plans.

Academic journals and open source spatial datasets (often found through web search engines) are the most frequent sources we use for these. For satellite image processing, we also use open source tools and software such as Quantum GIS (QGIS) and Gdal.

What search services do you use to find resources at the University of Edinburgh and beyond?

Edinburgh Research Explorer is one resource Ecometrica use quite regularly to search for academic publications from the University of Edinburgh. Google Scholar or just Google search engine is also very useful to source other published academic papers and spatial datasets

Ecometrica works in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh on several projects, so often have access to the researchers themselves for expert advice. You can also use Edinburgh Research Explorer  to find staff and researchers.

The University of Edinburgh also uses Ecometrica’s web-mapping platform to publish some of their open access spatial data in an interactive user-friendly format – one example is carbonmaps.ourecosystem.com. This is an application set up with Dr Edward Mitchard to show comparisons of different carbon maps produced using different satellite data and techniques.

Talk us through the tools and techniques you use for this kind of research.

Once Ecometrica have a defined problem that a client needs a solution for, we would start with a general search for recent academic publications outlining different satellite data processing methods often using google scholar search engine.


Using Google scholar, see if you can find two relevant open access publications outlining a method to measure forest degradation in African woodlands using satellite data not affected by cloud.

Dr Edward Mitchard from the University of Edinburgh writes a useful blog, Deforestationwatch, on monitoring tropical deforestation from ground and space – what are the two active remote sensing datasets well-suited to mapping vegetation carbon stocks and why? What are the open source GIS systems he suggests for satellite data processing?

Find out more