Scaling up Nature Based Solutions to achieve net-zero targets

Added to
January 5, 2023
January 5, 2023

Earth Blox helps businesses in their transition to net-zero. This case study details how one customer selected Earth Blox to help scale their Nature Based Solutions projects.

“We have quite an ambitious emissions reduction target to hit, so I needed a way to manage increasing demand for analyses of project opportunities. With Earth Blox, our commercial team can quickly and easily conduct the initial assessment. They don't have to wait four weeks for me to do it for them anymore.” Geomatics Adviser

The Challenge

The customer's Nature Based Solutions (NbS) project opportunities go through a series of five or six stages to assess the viability of an investment. This process is managed by a commercial lead in the NBS team who is responsible for ensuring sound investments are made, and is tasked with obtaining information from various expert-led fields in the company, one of those being geomatics. A commercial lead manages between eight and 10 NbS project opportunities at any one time.

With the company working to scale their investments as they strive for net-zero, it soon became apparent that many of the questions asked of the geomatics adviser in the early stages of an assessment were repetitive and fairly basic, for example, "Can you look at the land cover and land change history over the last 10 years?" or "Can you make a summary of all the rainforest losses over the last 20 years?" This was fast becoming a blocker, with commercial leads sometimes having to wait up to four weeks to get an answer to a basic question in the initial stages of an assessment.

As a digital-first company, the NbS team knew there must be a more efficient way to get answers to these early-stage questions. This would free up time for the geomatics adviser to focus on the more detailed aspects of the later stages of assessments where their expertise was essential to accurate decision making. 

The NbS team needed a solution that would allow commercial leads to answer the initial, basic questions themselves. It was essential that they find a single solution, that contained all the necessary datasets and results of the analyses, and that it was accessible and easy for non-geospatial experts to use. They also wanted a cloud hosted solution.

Together the geomatics adviser and NbS product manager set about researching solutions. They considered a range of options including geospatial software providers, Google Earth Engine, consultants, and even building a solution in-house.

Solution

After a thorough assessment, they selected Earth Blox, an Earth observation software-as-a-service that provides geospatial data and tools to assess, verify, and report on natural assets with confidence and full transparency. 

It has an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface, and pre-built workflows that can be easily run by users that do not have any geospatial expertise. Experienced geospatial data scientists and analysts can conduct more in-depth analysis by building their own workflows. The results are available in visual and tabular formats and can be exported for inclusion in reports.

Through Earth Blox, the customer has access to the Google Earth Engine data archive which contains more than 40 years of historical imagery and scientific datasets, updated and expanded daily. Unlike other solutions that focus on single datasets such as forests or landcover, Earth Blox allows users to layer multiple, diverse datasets to build comprehensive insights into how different environmental factors such as fire, flood, land change, forest, mangroves, combine to provide the most accurate picture of what’s on the ground.

Earth Blox is a cloud-hosted service removing the need to download data or have significant computing resources on your desktop. Processing time for an analysis is shortened from hours or days to just minutes.

As an enterprise customer their installation has been configured to allow them to import their own datasets. The Earth Blox geospatial team have supported the in building custom workflows in order to automate their most common analyses. They receive priority support and have a dedicated technical account manager with geospatial expertise.

Results

  • Time saved: the NbS commercial leads can conduct initial assessments themselves in 30 minutes, rather than waiting up to four weeks for the information from the geomatics adviser.
  • Supporting scale: as the NbS team grows to meet net-zero targets, so too does the number of assessments. Earth Blox unblocks the funnel for NbS assessments by enabling commercial leads to conduct initial assessments.
  • Budget saved: without a solution for non-geospatial experts, the customer would need to grow their geomatics team or hire external consultants to support assessments. A commercial lead can assess 10 opportunities in the time it would take for the geomatics adviser to answer a question on one.

“Earth Blox has been well received and the commercial team are pleased to see how quickly they can get results. We’ve freed up our Geomatics Adviser’s time to focus on more complex queries which is helping us scale our NbS investments as we work towards net-zero. ” Digital Product Manager NbS

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