Advanced mapping for precision conservation

Data is the lifeblood of conservation efforts, and to protect complex ecosystems such as watersheds, conservationists need accurate and precise spatial data. Real-time, high-resolution land cover maps can guide conservation efforts, but creating these maps using available imagery—and tracking changes over time—requires complex algorithms and computing resources.

Microsoft partnered with the Chesapeake Conservancy to build a dynamic system for generating one-meter resolution land cover data anywhere in the United States. Using algorithms on Microsoft’s AI platform and integrating the data into Esri’s ArcGIS spatial mapping software, we were able to create an accurate, current land cover map, giving conservationists access to regularly updated data with 900 times the information that was available before.

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Microsoft’s AI platform and Esri’s ArcGIS spatial mapping software enable a dynamic system for generating one-meter resolution land cover data

1. LAND AREA > 2. REMOTE SENSING > 3. MICROSOFT AZURE > 4. MODEL TRAINING > 5. MODEL DEVELOPMENT > 6. INSIGHT

1. LAND AREA
A land area is identified to study.

2. REMOTE SENSING
Imagery of the studied area is collected from platforms like drones, airplanes, and satellites.

3. MICROSOFT AZURE
The Azure cloud stores all of this data for ready access by AI systems.

4. MODEL TRAINING
Batch AI leverages hundreds of GPUs to train the model.

5. MODEL DEVELOPMENT
The GeoAI DSVM expedites the processing of new imagery, providing rapid mapping results.

6. INSIGHT
Researchers are able to review land cover in great detail, providing insights to monitor climate change, understand the impacts of urbanization, and better plan for natural disasters.

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