by Edward Lempinen, Berkeley News

Deep streams of data from Earth-imaging satellites arrive in databases every day, but advanced technology and expertise are required to access and analyze the data. Now a new system, developed in research based at the University of California, Berkeley, uses machine learning to drive low-cost, easy-to-use technology that one person could run on a laptop, without advanced training, to address their local problems.

More than 700 imaging satellites are orbiting the earth, and every day they beam vast oceans of information — including data that reflects climate change, health and poverty — to databases on the ground. There’s just one problem: While the geospatial data could help researchers and policymakers address critical challenges, only those with considerable wealth and expertise can access it.

Now, a team based at UC Berkeley has devised a machine learning system to tap the problem-solving potential of satellite imaging, using low-cost, easy-to-use technology that could bring access and analytical power to researchers and governments worldwide.

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