SkyTruth uses the view from space to inspire people to protect the environment. They utilize technology to identify and monitor threats to the planet’s natural resources such as offshore drilling and oil spills, urban sprawl, fracking, mountaintop removal mining, and overfishing of the oceans.
They believe better transparency leads to better management and better outcomes. By sharing their findings – stunning imagery and robust science-based data – with the public for free, they move policy makers, governments and corporations towards more responsible behavior in the environment. They arm citizen activists with the tools they need to be more effective advocates. They also provide researchers and scientists with critical data that can inform groundbreaking work – and, notably, aid in the effort to begin asking a new set of questions.
WHAT THEY DO
Keeping an eye on Planet Earth
They use remote sensing as a tool to shine a light on environmental incidents and issues around the world, giving everyone an eyewitness perspective.
They monitor the news for mentions of oil spills, mine failures, major pollution events, and other incidents. They investigate using images and other data collected by satellites to map, measure, and publicly illustrate the visible impacts to landscapes, ecosystems and communities. They partner with other environmental organizations to strengthen their campaigns to grow awareness of these issues. This approach disrupts the status quo by showing polluters and regulators that abuse of the environment will no longer remain hidden; and that the public, investors, and other stakeholders will be able to hold someone accountable for the damage. And it stimulates more effective disaster response, proactive communication, greater transparency and better stewardship by industry and government.
Demonstrating the Art of the Possible
They pioneer the use of remote sensing and big data for investigating and communicating environmental issues.
They conduct R&D to keep up with rapid advances in satellite imaging, data collection, data mining, cloud computing, and machine learning. They communicate and partner with environmental NGOs and academic researchers, to learn about emerging environmental issues and the science, strategies and campaigns that are developing in response to those concerns. And they synthesize this knowledge to bend their technical expertise toward measuring, mapping and illuminating environmental issues in ways that inform and engage researchers, regulators, policymakers, journalists and the public. By demonstrating applications that are not only technically possible, but are also operationally feasible, they reveal new possibilities for more effective government policy and oversight, and set a higher bar of performance for government regulators and industry.
Impelling action for environmental stewardship
They lead by example, conducting projects that showcase how free public imagery, data, and social media tools can be used to analyze, illuminate and report on a broad range of environmental issues and incidents, from local to international in scope. They provide consultation, conduct workshops and give presentations, and explain how and why they do what they do. They give away their knowledge — data sources, analytical techniques, software code, maps and images — encouraging others to emulate their example and do their own skytruthing, to build on what they’ve created, and to use their work to bring about positive change. They invite the public to participate in collaborative citizen-science projects, helping us analyze imagery, create unique maps and illustrations, and extract scientifically useful data to inform research on significant environmental issues.
Building the foundation for scientific research
SkyTruth projects often involve an intensive search for hard-to-find data: the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations at oil and gas drilling sites; the locations of coal-mining permits; or information about accidental pollution events. Once they’ve done the work of finding, filtering and fixing these datasets to make them useful and mappable, they release them for everyone to use. In other cases the work they do actually creates new data that didn’t previously exist, allowing scientists around the world to conduct research that wasn’t previously possible — research that can have a direct impact on public policy and resource management. By giving the data away, their impact is multiplied many times over by the scientists, journalists, citizens groups, government agencies and other organizations that put it to use.See more