Practice areas

Earth Observation

Our expert team apply robust economic analysis and cutting edge modelling techniques such as machine learning to the rapidly growing amount of spatial data, much of which is derived from satellite imagery. We have used this data to create timely and innovative economic insights about evolving issues across the globe. This provides unique analyses into a range of topics, including the drivers of tropical forest loss to improving our understanding of drought and flooding risks in Africa and South America.

Our sectors of deep expertise:

  • Forestry
  • Water risk planning for drought and floods
  • Cities and urban development
  • Valuing natural capital

Past projects

Land use and deforestation mapping using satellite-derived data products in Cote d’Ivoire and Peru

We are undertaking two large scale studies in partnership with the UK Space Agency to develop land-use mapping and economic valuation tools that support planning and implementation of land-use interventions. Vivid has utilised a suite of remote sensing techniques to deliver highly accurate rural land use classification, including optical and radar technologies. These techniques have been used for instance to differentiate between crop types and types of rural settlement, which are important for identifying particular areas that are at heightened risk of future deforestation. To effectively support policymakers, Vivid utilises its deep experience in economic modelling to integrate remotely sensed data into a spatially explicit policy tools. Vivid has focussed on quantifying the social value of land use services by combining land use inventories with natural capital valuation frameworks. This includes identifying areas most at risk of deforestation to support the design of zoning rules and regulations along with the prioritisation of areas for planned investments. This provides policymakers with the information to make management and investment decisions that clearly consider the social costs and benefits of alternative decisions.

Earth Observation enabled decision support for flood and drought resilience in Ethiopia and Kenya

This project focusses on building flood and drought resilience in Kenya and Ethiopia to support poverty alleviation. In Ethiopia, the focus is on building an improved understanding of flood and drought hazards to help build social and economic resilience to water-related hazards. Vivid combines both the use of cutting-edge microeconomic techniques to understand the local impacts of these hazards and macroeconomic modelling to understand economy-wide impacts of floods and droughts. In Kenya, the focus is on the efficacy of earth observation data for the micro-insurance market, an important tool for farmers who currently have little or no access to insurance.