GRSG Conference 2020 Presentation

Title: Detecting risk to infrastructure in the age of COVID and ESG

Author: Owen Hawkins

The impact of COVID-19 is driving the need to reduce cost and health and safety risks of site visits.  ESG regulations are in parallel generating increased interest in the monitoring of risk and performance of assets.

As such, the interest in remote monitoring of infrastructure has ballooned to support asset owners, contractors, investors and regulatory bodies during planning, construction and operation.

Multi-sensor (optical, radar and infrared), multi-resolution and multi-operator remote sensing satellite datasets can now answer cost effectively many of the asset monitoring and maintenance questions without the need to go on site, whether inspecting a mine in Chile, the activity of a port in the US, the movement of a road in the UK, to a nickel smelter in Indonesia or an oil and gas pipeline in Turkey.

Remote sensing has become commoditised owing to the increased volume of satellite constellations, the significantly improved resolution of on-board sensors and the high frequency revisit capability, coupled with high speed data download, cloud processing and AI.

This has vastly reduced the cost of asset infrastructure monitoring from space from the hundreds of thousands to the low thousands to deliver proactive insights.

From identifying millimetre scale ground movement of transport networks, calculating collateral loan stockpile volumes, identifying land use change at scale, monitoring individual asset pollution levels, to spotting new building or vegetation encroachment, huge volumes of data are brought together to provide actionable and accurate insights.

The key innovations Earth-i has been able to achieve is around:

  • the ability to automate the ingestion of multiple satellite data sources
  • the scalable digital processing chain
  • the near-real time speed of the analysis
  • the resulting accuracy of the AI analysis
  • the reduced cost to deliver the information on a high-frequency basis

Accuracy has increased significantly to >95% and the speed at which that information can be delivered at a large scale is now within minutes rather than the months or even years that some of our clients currently endure. This methodology can be applied whether it is a handful of asset locations or thousands dispersed globally and can be done at short notice.

Earth-i will share how this multi-sensor / multi-resolution approach has been applied to monitoring assets such as rail networks, a hydroelectric dam in Brazil and global copper smelting.

Remote sensing is the only method which offers a macro snapshot of the truth at a single point in time on a regular basis, each time a satellite passes over the site, to be certain that the latest accurate updates are at your fingertips.