Microsoft’s AI for Earth and the GEO BON Secretariat launched the program “Essential Biodiversity Variables in the Cloud”, a US$1 million grant program providing financial support and Microsoft Azure credits to monitor Earth’s biodiversity.
Esri joined forces and offered to provide free licenses to the grantees. The call was designed for advancing research that leverages cloud-scale computation to improve biodiversity information.
The program attracted 60 proposals aiming to contribute to developing the Essential Biodiversity Variables. Five projects were selected:
Using AI to validate and downscale ecosystem-related Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) in mountain environments (Ruth Sonnenschein, EURAC Research)
AI for the Belize National Marine Habitat Map (Arlene Young, Coastal Zone Management Authority & Institute, Belize)
AMAZECO: Covering the Amazon with an Ecosystem Structure EBV product combining satellite and airborne LIDAR (Ruben Valbuena PI)
Extracting the signal of change in community-composition EBVs from big unstructured species-occurrence datasets through Azure-enabled spatiotemporal analytics (Simon Ferrier and Andrew Hoskins, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia)
Bioacoustics and Machine Learning for Automated Avian Species Monitoring in Global Biodiversity Hotspots (Naomi Bates, Songs of Adaptation)
The nine runners-up were also offered Microsoft Azure credits worth up to US$15K, technical advice and support, online Azure training materials, and invitations to AI for Earth Summit for networking and education