Space Intelligence

We interviewed Kristian Bodolai, Space Intelligence’s Research Engineer, about what Space Intelligence aims to achieve, how he became part of the team and the role the DDE Programme has played in supporting Space Intelligence’s growth and data research.

Professor Ed Mitchard & Dr. Murray Collins
Forest ecology and AI
Innovation, fluent and (definitely) interesting
Products and services geared towards monitoring the natural environment to help tackle climate change
AI Accelerator, Digitech Work Placements via The DataLab
March 2021 – June 2021
By giving PhD students the experience of business and what life post-graduation looks like, we benefit from local talent while also giving something back.”

How did you come to work at Space Intelligence?

I finished my studies in Physics in Spain a few years ago and had very much enjoyed studying machine learning and AI. When I moved to Edinburgh, I applied for a job at Space Intelligence. Despite being a small company of only three at the time, it felt like they were making a real impact.

What real-world challenge do you want to address?

We are trying to find better, scientifically rigorous, and solid ways of using satellite imagery and that wealth of data to monitor forests. We turn the raw data collected into something that can be used to tackle climate change, while also providing more transparency for the projects that claim to do so, like carbon offsetting projects, for example.

How important has a skilled pipeline of ‘data talent’ coming out of the University been for Space Intelligence?

Both our founders, Professor Ed Mitchard and Dr. Murray Collins, are closely connected with the University of Edinburgh and many of our staff have PhDs from the university too. The connection is great for us because we have access to this network of well-trained, talented people that we know are very capable of tackling the challenges we want to tackle. As a business, we are benefiting a huge amount from that skilled pipeline and access to programmes like the AI Accelerator and DigiTech Work Placements funded by DDE.

How does Space Intelligence define success?

Our company has already grown so much in a short time, from four to 15 people in just over a year and a half, which is huge. Another marker of success for us is just doing what we do: getting projects done and creating something that people can derive value from. For example, the land cover map of Scotland project we worked on gathered a lot of feedback from people who were able to really utilise and find value in that information.

The fact that we are growing and able to work with more and more talented people and organisations is a huge marker of success for us.”

How has Space Intelligence benefitted from DDE and DigiTech Work Placements?

We took part in the AI Accelerator and we have taken on several DigiTech Work Placements so far, and are about to take on another! Back when we were working on the Rebrota project, which was about extracting information from social media images, we had an extremely talented student join us for a ten-day placement. We were a small team at that point, with a lot of great ideas but limited resources to action them. Having a talented person who could spend ten days experimenting with the data, playing with it, bouncing new ideas around and seeing what we could get, was a very positive experience for us.

What is next for Space Intelligence?

We are constantly working on improving our products and are currently looking to scale up while keeping accuracy levels high and our process rigorous. Proper quality control is absolutely essential when moving from the lab to real life settings. We’re aiming at having more large-scale and global projects that are just as reliable as the ones we are providing now – and making those readily available, so it’s even easier for people to access and utilise them.

Get in touch!

Want to learn more about Space Intelligence, click below to head to their website.

Space Intelligence