Astrosat has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme to develop a new software tool that will automate the analysis of housing construction progress using remote sensing images. SPRINT will provide Astrosat with funded access to expertise from the University of Leicester to develop a machine learning algorithm that will analyse Earth Observation and other geospatial data. This will enable local authorities to support their housing delivery monitoring needs and more effectively forward plan public services.
Based in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, Astrosat has identified new data products to be developed in collaboration with the School of Informatics of the University of Leicester. These would leverage image processing, change detection and machine learning methods to process high resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery as well as other relevant data products developed in- house to explore automated and accurate identification of the progress of housing development and construction projects.
The SPRINT project will also support Astrosat’s collaboration with the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Astrosat is one of five successful suppliers chosen by Waltham Forest Council for the ‘GovTech Catalyst Challenge: Accelerating the building of housing using geospatial intelligence’ tender. The Council is investigating how technology can be used to monitor developments of all sizes and types, building an accurate picture of development status from permission to completion and occupation. The successful project will develop a tool to help planners make more informed decisions and improve monitoring processes.
The project will be funded by direct investment from Astrosat and a grant from the £4.8 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.
Mike Payne, Head of Product Management at Astrosat said: “Local authorities need more visibility of construction projects and this project with Waltham Forest will challenge our vision that there’s a ‘space solution for every earth-bound problem’. We could have tried to develop the solution but would have needed a significant R&D budget. The SPRINT funding will link us to the University of Leicester to speed the product development and commercialise the output of that relationship.
“Although the SPRINT project will enable us to directly address the Waltham Forest project requirements and will support the Phase Two response, it also provides us with the flexibility to commercialise the solution with other councils.”
Huiyu (Joe) Zhou, head of the Applied Algorithms and AI (AAAI) Theme and lead of the Biomedical Image Processing Lab at the University of Leicester added: “The project with Astrosat enables us to collaborate on the development of a new AI technology application to monitor buildings and analyse construction sites. With support from the Innovation Hub at the University, this will extend our capabilities and enhance our experience in remote sensing applications.”