Knowledge Transfer Partnership Case Study - Environment Systems

‘OSSIE – Open Source Software for Information on the Environment'

Summary of the benefits:

The key achievements resulting from the project were a better understanding of what types of image processing tasks are most suitable for the OS-Geo stack (complex object oriented mapping, simple object oriented mapping of habitats, or fast batch improved image pre-processing), training of two experienced Remote Sensing analysts for using the open source software, and a series of reports and training material documenting the research.


About the Company:

Environment Systems use state-of-the-art technology and mapping to help government and businesses understand and better manage our environment.

We are an award winning environmental and geographic information consultancy, working for a wide range of organisations across the UK and Europe including many government bodies and leading industrial companies. Delivering solutions to the environmental, agricultural and land sectors through the establishment of baselines, monitoring and ecosystem models.  We specialise in the novel use of earth observation (aerial and satellite imagery), GIS analysis and technologies to give our clients the information they need to make better business decisions.

About the Associate:

Alexandra Mates is a BSc Environmental Science, MSc Remote Sensing and GIS graduate from Aberystwyth University, with an initial baccalaureate GCSE background in Mathematics and Computer Science.

The main reasons for embarking on the KTP project were to develop her MSc knowledge and skills regarding open source software for processing and analysis of Remote Sensing and GIS data; evaluate Remote Sensing and GIS analysis and consultancy as a career path; acquire project management skills; work within a thriving company whose ethos is the description, monitoring and protection of the natural environment; and to strengthen the connection with Aberystwyth University DGES academia.

Key activities were conducting investigations into the current activities and methodologies of the company through surveys or hands-on practice; setting an infrastructure for higher performance processing of remote sensing data; preparing scripts for mapping projects; comparing the results of image processing and mapping between commercial and open source software;  reporting of activities and training of staff on using the OS-Geo stack and python scripting.

All in all, Alexandra found the KTP an opportunity to discover the nuances of both the commercial environment and the research side of Earth Observation and image processing. Handling the research, project management, double location and team communication of such a project is not a trivial task, however she realised that it can bring a truly satisfactory feeling when working with confidence and enthusiasm, when noticing that the research is truly beneficial for the company.


About the Project:

The project work was divided in four main stages: the associate’s understanding of current methodologies and services of the company using commercial image processing software; the translation and evaluation of a mapping project from a commercial framework to an open source model; comparing results of image pre-processing such as atmospheric correction of satellite images between commercial and open source software; and training of staff.

The academic research conducted by the associate mainly consisted of consultations with the knowledge base (Dr Pete Bunting) and the DGES Earth Observation group of PhD and post-doc researchers. The project greatly facilitated communication between the academic supervisor and the company, increasing awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the library, further improvements to the software to ease the derivation of commercial products. The project succeeded to deliver a clear idea to both academic and company partners into the preferred direction of future software developments and operational systems based on open source image processing tools.

Further information:

For further information on the opportunities presented by Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, please contact:

Business Development Officer Department of Research, Business & Innovation Aberystwyth University

Tel: 01970 622797


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