In the last decade, big data and artificial intelligence have been adopted and incorporated into almost every industry and driven incredible growth. Computer generated trading in finance, more efficient production lines in manufacturing, targeted ads in advertising, and automated building plans in construction. These tools are empowering so many industries to make their systems more adaptive and their targeted actions more precise. As a group of ecologists and outdoor enthusiasts, this led us to an obvious question: “Can we adopt the same technology to optimize for ecosystem health rather than profit?” If you could apply the same methods in the natural environment to understand ecosystems the same way you can understand a supply chain, it would allow you to better identify pain points, make targeted interventions, assess progress, and influence both upstream and downstream effects. If capitalists can use these tools to increase the rate at which we consume, perhaps we can use them to increase the rate at which we monitor and protect nature.
Through Comon, I saw an opportunity to merge my technological and creative skills to empower land managers to improve their strategies and promote conservation. My goal is to enable local communities to protect the natural space that they love. We analyze drone imagery with computer vision to produce easily digestible reports that minimize the time, cost, and capacity needed to help land managers determine best practices for specific sites.