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Overstory: Fighting utility outages with high resolution satellite imagery


Overstory was founded in 2018, with the goal of identifying deforestation through satellite imagery and machine learning. As temperatures rise and wildfire risks grow, the team now focuses on using algorithms to prevent power outages and devastating fires caused by vegetation growing or falling into electric power lines (the number one cause of catastrophic fires today). As we move towards a decarbonised future with greater dependence on the electric grid, infrastructure reliability and safety is critical. Overstory partners with electric utility companies all over the world to reduce the risk of fires and power outages.


To train and update their AI model, Overstory needed continuous access to different types of satellite data. Historically, this access has been difficult: providers are more used to working with governments and large organizations, instead of smaller companies. Paperwork, long waiting times, and a lack of flexibility around data access all posed challenges to Overstory’s operations.

As their operations matured, Overstory increasingly required very high resolution imagery to better train their AI model. They needed to find the sweet spot between price, resolution, and delivery speed.

"UP42 keeps a pulse on what satellite providers are doing, so we understand what’s coming and how to pivot or modify orders if needed. It’s a real partnership that allows us to deliver precise insights to our own customers and build smarter machine learning models that support valuable global vegetation intelligence." -Andrew Creamer, Satellite Data Acquisition Specialist

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"With UP42 we know that satellite imagery will be there when we need it, and always at high quality, both the imagery itself and the support we receive from their team." -Roelof Pieters, Co-founder and CTO at Overstory


UP42’s catalog gives Overstory easy access to archive satellite imagery from different providers. If the catalog doesn’t have the imagery they need, they can task a satellite to capture the needed area of interest, directly from the UP42 platform. The credit-based pricing system also shows Overstory exactly what they’ll pay for each order. Once the imagery is ready, Overstory downloads it directly from UP42 storage, allowing them to process and integrate it directly into their solution.

The types of data that Overstory orders have changed over time. At first, Overstory was using more analytical data. Now, their machine learning process needs very high resolution imagery that allows them to clearly identify individual plants and trees. They also access DTMs and DSMs through UP42, which gives them valuable elevation data and height information about natural and man-made features. All together, this allows them to train their AI model to an even higher level of precision.


With UP42, Overstory can now access different types of data with speed and flexibility. Thanks to support from UP42 and our DocHub, Overstory is fully equipped to get their data faster than ever before, and integrate it with their own solutions. For Overstory, this democratization of satellite data is key in making it easier for companies of all sizes to obtain important imagery.

Because UP42 keeps up with the pulse of the geospatial industry, Overstory stays in the loop about what’s coming, and therefore they know how to plan in advance, and when to pivot or modify their operations. And it’s needed: their data collection is tripling every year. This collaboration allows Overstory to deliver precise insights to their own customers, and build machine learning models that support global vegetation intelligence.

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