Monitor Nature with AI Automatic Change Detection

Ege Berk Akkaya, Kerem Gurel, Lemuel Pranoto, Yan Hua, Zhiwen Li

  • Community Partner: Korotu Technology
  • Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Program: Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Campus: Vancouver

Our project 

Billions of trees are lost due to deforestation every year, increasing the severity of the impacts of climate change and loss of biodiversity. Immediate action is required to prevent more trees from being cut. 

We developed an easy-to-use nature monitoring mobile application that tracks and visualizes deforestation changes in any area of interest. It enables the general public to engage and be accountable for protecting nature while calling on people to take action and attempt to mitigate deforestation. 

Our inspiration 

The project combines our interest in nature and sustainability with our passion for using engineering principles and technical skills to tackle real-world problems. Climate change, deforestation and biodiversity loss are some of the most critical problems we face today, so we were eager to unite as a team and collaborate with Korotu Technology to develop a mobile application that helps address these serious issues.  

Our biggest challenge 

Designing the system-level architecture and training a decent machine learning model were the most challenging parts of this project. 

What excited us most 

When we were able to develop a classification algorithm and display the classified images on our front-end in an interactive way, we knew that the app would be useful for the general public. The deforestation changes between different years were evident and easy for the end-user to see, and the change metrics were simple and easy to understand.  

We were really excited as a team to see the app developing closer to an end product. And because the app has a lot of potential for real-life use cases, we believe that it could bring people together to combat climate change. 

The most interesting/surprising thing we learned 

We found that a devastating amount of tree loss occurred in Collingwood, Ontario, from 2013 to 2021 by using our app and classifying the corresponding satellite images. This change was not as easy to notice by looking at the raw satellite images. 

Our project's future 

Currently, our application detects only one type of nature change: deforestation. In the future, other natural changes such as glacier loss or erosion could also be integrated into our app, making it a one-stop application for nature change monitoring.  

The application will also be integrated into Korotu Technology's existing products and will potentially be used to attract new investors and raise awareness about current nature issues. 

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