Leicester researchers involved in project to address Malaysias environmental challenges

Researchers from our University are part of a team delivering an Earth and Sea Observation System (EASOS) for Malaysia in order to address some of the country’s major environmental challenges.

Under the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP), the Satellite Applications Catapult is leading the team, working with the National Defence University of Malaysia and other government agencies in the country.

During 2014, the combined impact on the Malaysian economy of flooding, marine pollution and illegal logging was estimated to be more than $12.5Bn. As a result, the Malaysian government has identified these three areas as critically important priorities to be addressed.

Using satellite data and satellite-enabled technology, the EASOS programme will deliver, trial and evaluate solutions for flood risk, marine pollution and illegal logging.

The consortium will work with the respective Malaysian government departments to encourage common information sharing and applications to support infrastructure.

This will be delivered through a data and alert delivery interface providing access to EO data that is fed into analysis tools to make critical information available to operators and decision makers.

Heiko Balzter, Professor of Physical Geography and Director of the Centre for Landscape and Climate Research, said: “Illegal logging is a problem that many countries are grappling with. We will help Malaysia develop an integrated satellite monitoring solution that enables early intervention to illegal logging in order to protect its pristine rainforests. Protecting these forests is of the utmost importance for the conservation of biodiversity, to counteract climate change and to preserve the vital ecosystem services that these forests provide to local people.”

In addition to the Catapult, the consortium partners are our University, Janus TCD, Stevenson Astrosat, Geocento, Ambiental, Plymouth Marine Laboratories, AutoNaut, Riskaware, Telespazio VEGA, Earth Observation Inc, Sterling Geo, Oxford University and eOsphere.

The UK Space Agency’s International Partnerships Programme is a £152m multi-year programme designed to use people’s space knowledge, expertise and capability to provide sustainable, economic or societal benefits to undeveloped nations and developing economies.

The UK Space Agency grants are awarded to successful industrial and academic partners to run projects addressing real-world problems.