Terra-i team, scientific talent for a greener world

August 8, 2016

Terra-i_EN_300-1Originally published at CIAT’s blog

The Terra-i,  which works under CIAT’s Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA) Research Area, is constantly evolving, and their main goal this year is to process a larger amount of data in less time.

“To meet this challenge we purchased more data processing devices and improved the software of our current equipment to increase automatization of some of the steps in the process. He also added that this work was carried out in joint collaboration with the College of Engineering and Management of the Canton of Vaud (HEIG-VD, based in Switzerland).” Louis Reymondin, Leader of the Terra-i team

Terra-i is a vegetation monitoring system for Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania, used to detect land-cover changes in near real time. This tool is based on the hypothesis that vegetation has predictable patterns with specific cycles according to climatic conditions and soil characteristics.

The Terra-i system generates specialized information for sustainable use and conservation of natural resources and ecosystems. Moreover, it is updated permanently and allows to incorporate the results from analyses with higher resolution images. This information is used to address climate change mitigation, forest conservation, and biological diversity, among others.

It is important to highlight that this initiative is an inter-institutional collaboration betweenCIAT, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), the College of Engineering and Management Vaud (HEIG-VD, based in Switzerland), and King’s College London (KCL, based in the UK).

“This year we are planning to obtain more data for analysis in less time, particularly in Latin America and the tropics. We are searching for new opportunities in countries such as Honduras and Guatemala, and we will present the system in Asia to form a new working team.” Paula Andrea Paz, Research Assistant

Terra-i’s evolution

Recent achievements

  • The Peruvian Ministry of Environment (MINAM) adopted the Terra-i system to monitor deforestation.
  • A group of American scientists used the data collected between 2004 and 2012 in eastern Honduras to write a publication in Science.
  • Data shared with the “cartochaco” initiative. For further information, please visit www.cartochaco.org.
  • The team became a data provider for the Global Forest Watch, one of the biggest initiatives in data analysis on forest loss.
  • Moreover, Global Forest Watch allocated resources to the Terra-i team to run analyses and produce data every month instead of every two months.
  • The team received the CIAT Award for Outstanding Research Outcome, with a cash price of US$5.000 to fund their professional development.

Our team: 

Louis Reymondin

Louis Reymondin, Leader of the Terra-i team

Louis Reymondin is an expert in the development of software that combines big data and georeferenced information. He studied software development in the University of Applied Sciences in West Switzerland and then completed a PhD in Geography in the King’s College London. Louis has more than 10 years of experience in the coordination of the Terra-i project and research that involves the use of artificial intelligence and data mining to better understand the dynamics between human and environmental activities.

Jhon Jairo Tello

Jhon Jairo Tello, System Engineer

Jhon Jairo Tello graduated from Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia since 2011. Since then, he has been working on Terra-i, mainly in the development of its website.

Paula Andrea Paz

Paula Andrea Paz, Research Assistant

Topographical Engineer from Universidad del Valle. She works on the Terra-i project with data and information download, processing and post-processing, and supports deforestation monitoring in Latin America and across the tropics.

Oscar Bautista

Oscar Bautista, Research Assistant

Agricultural Engineer from Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He has been working since 2012 as a consultant in diverse conservation projects. Moreover, he has been engaged in the identification of ecosystem pressure and threats to assess land-use change and forest loss impact. Currently, he works as a research assistant in DAPA and is part of the team responsible for data generation, download, and processing.

Bernadette Menzinger

Bernadette Menzinger, Visiting Researcher

Geographer graduated from Julius-Maximilians-Universitat Wurzburg in Germany in 2014. She specialized as a research assistant supervising land use in West Africa. Currently she is pursuing her masters studies in High Mountain Geography and Climatology at the University of Graz in Austria, and is working as a visiting researcher in Terra-i. She is responsible for updating data, and downloading and processing information.

Finally, it is important to highlight the work carried out by former members of the Terra-i team who contributed to the success of this project. The Terra-i team wants to thank especially Karolina Argote and Alejandro Coca for their great contributions and dedication to the project.

More info about the Terra-i team
Terra-i: A Cool Tool for Detecting Deforestation. 

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