Mankind has been exploring the Earth for centuries to provide its comfort existence. We are learning to use Earth resources rationally, prevent ecological disasters, protect ourselves against forces of nature. Technological development helps to create effective tools for this. The process is facilitated by people whose activities are aimed at the consolidation of scientists, engineers, developers, and businessmen for achieving a common goal.
One of those people is Max Polyakov, a co-founder of the non-commercial public organization Noosphere Association and the managing partner of the venture fund Noosphere Ventures Partners.
Part of the Noosphere
The term “noosphere” (“the force of mind” in translation from Greek) arose from the doctrine about the biosphere of academician Vernadsky. The term noosphere should be understood as the evolutionary state of the biosphere where human intelligence is a fundamental factor of development.
Being a proponent of the Vernadsky doctrine, Max Polyakov believes that only joint efforts of science and business can provide a comfortable and safe future to humanity.
The businessman always initiates and supports the creation of new high-tech projects in various fields. This article will be focused on one of them—EOS Data Analytics.
EOS Platform: Full Visibility of Perspectives
The research startup EOS Data Analytics was started by Noosphere Ventures and Max Polyakov in 2015. The abbreviation stands for Earth Observing System. The company has developed and implemented an intuitively clear available to a wide range of users platform for GIS data collection and analysis (GIS — geographic information system). The project was created for 3 years and resulted from the joint efforts of 160 software developers and GIS specialists. The platform uses the Earth remote sensing (ERS) technology and has a toolkit of 4 services.
The service is designed for online search, viewing, downloading and spectral analysis of the Earth’s surface satellite images.
Main advantages for the user:
- permanent access to petabytes of new and archived data;
- an easy search of images of any size;
- data analysis and image upload of any selected location.
The service provides a fixed amount of data free of charge. A paid subscription is required to get full access to images and analytical functionality.
A system which provides more than 20 algorithms for automated processing of satellite images, including those based on trained neural networks.
First of all, it’s oriented at monitoring and research of agriculture and forestry, change detection, recognition of objects and pre – and post-processing of satellite images of medium and high spatial resolution.
Cloud mapping tool for vector data visualization and analysis. It has an intuitively understandable web interface, the ability to create maps, add data to them, visualize the results and share them with colleagues.
It’s a protected cloud server for geo-data storing, viewing, converting, and distributing.
The EOS platform is developed based on the EOS Engine which transforms raw geo-data into comprehensive information for further usage in more than 22 spheres of activity.
In simple words, the tools developed by Max Polyakov’s EOS help to solve difficult “terrestrial” problems easily with the assistance of space technologies, namely, remote sensing.
Remote sensing is the process of receiving information about objects without physical contact with them. Herewith, there can be a significant distance between the object and the data collection tool, and this is the main advantage of the method.
Space ERS is the most expensive method of research, but it’s also the most economically profitable for today. The percentage of remote sensing services in the common geo-data market at the end of 2018 exceeded 40%, and it increases by 15-20% every year.
700 satellites out from nearly 5,000 orbiting the Earth are engaged in remote sensing of the Earth. They watch the cyclonic development and movement, study the ozone layer, monitor the activity of volcanoes, fires, land cover changes, agricultural land, etc. The EOS Platform uses these data, converts and provides them to a user in the comprehensible form.
Practical Use of EOS Services
Here is just a part of what can be done in certain areas with the help of services developed by Max Polyakov:
- to monitor illegal extraction of amber;
- to calculate the impact of fires or deforestation;
- to identify automatically and count the number of infrastructure facilities in large areas within the region, country;
- to register and keep track of oil spills in the seas and oceans;
- to optimize fishing boats sailing directions for more efficient fishing;
- to predict future crop yields for maintaining food security of specific regions and countries;
- and many more.
The Accessibility and intuitive interface of EOS services allow a wide range of consumers to use them — from private individuals and students to commercial organizations. Like other cloud services of the company, LandViewer works directly in the browser, you don’t need to install software on your computer. It is enough to save the link and open it when you need it.
Another key advantage is the regular update of databases. Also, the platform is easily scalable. One person can process the information coming from any corner of the globe; it can be done several times faster in comparison with the old methods which require dozens of specialists and expensive equipment.
Simplicity and efficiency of LandViewer and EOS Platform have quickly made them popular. There are such world-famous organizations as Bloomberg and Greenpeace among the clients.
EOS Data Analytics also provides crop productivity analytics to insurance companies and collaborates with the state sector.
Google and Max Polyakov’s company, for example, took part in the program of optimization of California’s water resources consumption. This American state has a dry climate. So, the local Water Resources Board has decided to find out how much moisture evaporates in different house plots to get the individual rates of plants irrigation. The EOS team offered to classify the ground cover automatically to solve this problem. This made it possible to determine the water consumption rates for a specific microclimatic zone and weather.
As a result of the auspicious activity, Max Polyakov’s EOS Data Analytics was in 2017 included in the list of organizations of the International Aeronautical Federation (IAF) which deals with peaceful space exploration. This stimulated the EOS partner network broadening.
EOS by Max Polyakov and Partners
Today, the EOS Data Analytics team consists of 150 people; about a hundred people work in Ukrainian offices, the rest of them work in the main office in Menlo Park, California, USA. These are programmers, designers, testers, GIS analysts and scientists, of course. Senior research fellows, graduate students, students sometimes offer such methods of satellite image processing, which impress even the direct developers of software for orbital satellites.
EOS and Max Polyakov are continually looking for the new highly qualified experts for their team. They also invite testers for the cooperation on a non-profit basis to improve EOS services. They are the students, freelancers, researchers who want to experiment with EOS engine API and LandViewer using a specially developed Workbench™user interface.
Moreover, EOS is developing a partner ecosystem. It includes companies the products of which improve the quality and capabilities of the EOS Platform and also the companies-clients which use the service for commercial and other purposes.
There are such well-known companies as Amazon, Bellingcat, Airbus among the EOS partners, in addition to Bloomberg and Greenpeace.
Hackathons of Space Innovations
The work of EOS Data Analytics is not limited to the scope of application and improvement of EOS Platform. Max Polyakov’s company gives mentoring support and organizes scientific competitions.
In 2017, the company representatives were the mentors of the regional stage of the international NASA Space Apps hackathon Challenge in the Dnepr, Kiev, and Kropivnitskii.
The annual two-day marathon is held in dozens of locations around the world, and it unites thousands of people from more than 60 countries. NASA provides the data access received from space missions and vehicles to the participants of the challenge, and the teams must develop innovative solutions for future space projects.
The theme of the competition tasks in 2017 almost entirely coincided with the specifics of EOS activities:
- human interaction with the environment;
- hydrosphere and cryosphere;
- monitoring of natural phenomena and disasters;
- ecosystem studies;
- interpretation of NASA Earth Science data.
EOS gave the winners a special prize in the last nomination.
2018 has been marked for Max Polyakov’s company by another Hackathon, this time under the auspices of the European Space Agency ActInSpace. EOS organized the event in Kiev. The competition was held for the third time, but Ukraine participated in it for the first time.
The jury member and head of the Ukrainian EOS department Vladimir Vasiliev have noted that the Ukrainian participants have a strong skills base. «Certainly, there is still room for improvement. But there were strong guys, and there is a prospect that they can represent us in Europe, ” Vasilyev said.
It’s noteworthy that the main sponsor of the hackathon was FireFly Aerospace—another Max Polyakov’s company. FireFly is engaged in the development and production of low-cost orbital launch vehicles within the framework of the New Space idea. Its aim is the cost reduction of orbital launches and their availability for small private companies. The first launch of the FireFly Alpha rocket should take place in the second half of this year. FireFly Aerospace plans to carry out 16 Alpha launches in the next two years.
Cooperation with Noosphere Engineering School
Space is not so close. There are enough problems on Earth. The EOS Data Analytics activity is aimed at their solution.
Except for EOS Platform, the company is working on an informational product EOS Media. A web application EOS News, covering natural disasters and catastrophes, was developed on the Noosphere Engineering School (NES) basis; Max Polyakov was also the initiator of its creation. The program gives information about the events location, satellite images, data of media resources and social networks.
The project is intended to interest two main groups of users: journalists and GIS specialists. The first group will be able to use the application as the primary source of content and take materials for their articles, reviews, news reports. The GIS specialists will receive another quality source for research and analysis.
The joint team of EOS and NES plans to integrate the IOS Media platform with existing products in the nearest future.
The number of satellites in Earth orbit will be increasing every day with the space industry development. This means that small private companies, universities, public organizations will soon have their own observers in space. They all will need the services which can deal with the growing amount of information coming from the orbit.
One of these services is the EOS Platform. The product is being improved to make the array data processing and their providing to a wide range of users as quickly as possible and in the most accessible format.
The market of ERS services is just being formed, and Max Polyakov’s EOS Data Analytics continues progressing actively to occupy its niche.