, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 10 – The Africa Regional Data Cube has been launched in Kenya with the aim of providing accessible and relevant satellite imagery for researchers and farmers in five countries.
The Africa Regional Data Cube will help Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Tanzania, address food security concerns as well as issues relating to agriculture, deforestation, and water access.
The data cube was developed by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellite (CEOS), in partnership with the Group on Earth Observations, Amazon Web Services, the office of the Deputy President, Republic of Kenya and Strathmore University in Kenya.
The satellite images have been analyzed to allow users understand changes in urbanization, deforestation and crop formation over time, says Philip Thigo, a data and innovation advisor at the office of the Deputy President.
“What this means is that this data, which would have cost Kenya $1 million per year per satellite is now free. This data is now free and open and we can now download images over the last seven years,” says Thigo.
Five countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, Ghana and Sierra Leone have signed to be part of the Data Cube with the support of NASA, Committee on Earth Observation Satellites, Strathmore University and Amazon Web Services
Access to the data will also allow tech entrepreneurs develop applications for small-scale farmers where they can pull data from the cloud-stored data.
“Vast quantities of freely available and timely satellite data offer a real opportunity to grow smarter, waste less, and to innovate for efficient, effective production,” notes Strathmore Business School, which is hosting a 5-day Africa Regional Data Cube workshop.
“However, the burden of satellite data management and analysis has been a barrier to success, with developing countries generally lacking the capacity to use this data to assess local resources, land, and water, and monitor agriculture production and land change.”