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How Data Analytics Can Help Combat Climate Change

Today marks the 51st anniversary of Earth Day! Inspired by the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, Earth Day began after the largest protest ever for new clean air and water laws. It now encompasses events held with more than a billion people worldwide. 

At Kinetica, we believe that due to the scale and complexity of the climate change problem, technology has an important role to play in helping governments and citizens understand and act on the challenges facing our planet. Last year on Earth Day, we announced our participation in Earth Challenge 2020, the world’s largest ever coordinated citizen science campaign. In partnership with the U.S. State Department, the Wilson Center, and the Earth Day Network, we’ve worked to empower millions of citizen scientists to take direct action locally and contribute to global scientific data. 

Through data contributed by individuals to the Earth Challenge mobile app and reference-grade sensor data, Kinetica has powered efforts to collect and integrate billions of data points on plastic pollution, air quality, food security, insect populations, water quality, and climate change. The aggregation and analysis of this data is crucial to research on the effects of climate change on the environment and human health. 

This Earth Day, we’re proud to share that we’re working with the Danish Climate Ministry on an initiative codenamed CityShark. The purpose of the initiative is to create an autonomous system that will clean up oil spills and other waste in waterways. The Danish Climate Ministry ingests imagery from aerial drones into Kinetica where an accelerated machine learning algorithm rapidly determines whether any waste is present. If oil spills or trash are detected, sailing drones will be sent automatically to clean it up. CityShark is a powerful example of how technology can be brought to bear against terrible events such as oil spillage that inspired Earth Day in the first place. 

The San Francisco Estuary Institute also leverages Kinetica on drone imagery to help identify trash at scale across the San Francisco Bay and its tributaries. Kinetica helps SFEI to pinpoint the location, quantity, and type of trash. By running its analysis on Kinetica, SFEI is able to complete analyses in hours that used to take days or weeks, more quickly and accurately determining where trash is coming from. 

Want to learn more about how Kinetica is used to combat climate change? Visit our new Climate Solutions page that details more of our work. 

Andrew Wooler is global marketing manager at Kinetica.

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