Satelytics Uses Big Data to Tackle Environmental Issues

The emergence of cloud technology, or server systems that store data via the internet rather than on physical hard drives, has resulted in significantly increased storage potential and ushered in an era of ‘Big Data.’ Big Data analytics, which can’t be conducted using traditional methods, provides tremendous insight and value to businesses, making it one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Satelytics in Toledo, Ohio, developed complex algorithms to derive crucial insights and influence decisions in the oil & gas, pipeline, power, water and wastewater industries.

“We use satellites, drones, planes—really anything that can capture a high-resolution, multi-spectral image—to detect environmental factors our clients consider valuable, like oil leaks, potential infrastructure threats and the chemical composition of soil and water quality,” said Allan Adams, Director of Science at Satelytics. “We leverage the properties of the electromagnetic spectrum to capture an image of the planet the human eye can’t see, focusing on near infrared. We collect an enormous amount of data, terabytes of it, and then use our algorithms to provide actionable insights and data visualizations for our clients.”

While the applications for Satelytics’ technology are broad, the company’s specialty is the ability to derive crucial insights from Big Data that companies couldn’t extract on their own. Alerting an oil company of a pipeline leak or threat can help them act sooner—saving product, the environment and millions of dollars in fines. The company can also address some of the most pressing environmental issues, such as in 2014 when Satelytics’ technology uncovered key factors surrounding the record-breaking algae bloom on Lake Erie that cut off drinking water for over 500,000 Toledo area residents.

Satelytics technology is employed by some big players in industry—BP, Marathon Pipeline and Pacific Gas & Electric to name a few. These companies rely on Satelytics’ advanced algorithms and remote sensing software to help them minimize risk, solve crises and generally keep tabs on their geographically-dispersed infrastructure. Satelytics remains on the cutting edge, and in February 2017, the company announced they’d developed the world’s first commercial passive methane detection methods for wells and pipelines. An estimated $2 billion of methane is lost to the atmosphere in the U.S. each year, and over $30 billion worldwide.

Satelytics developed its technology as a member of the LaunchPad Incubation Program, a northwest regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier. LaunchPad provides the company office and meeting space, a server room and critical building services allowing them to focus on their technology and their customers. LaunchPad has also helped Satelytics secure pivotal press opportunities and investments through its network. The company plans to further develop their software systems in Toledo.

“We’re very excited about the direction of Satelytics and what’s in store for our technology. LaunchPad has been crucial in setting us up for that future,” said Adams. “They provide us with tremendous resources and access to a support network that’s enabled us to keep developing solutions for our clients. We’re going to continue developing solutions for oil & gas and power utilities because of the tremendous potential. Support from LaunchPad is helping us do that.”

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