Natural Environment Research Council: Solving business problems with environmental data

A short film highlighting environmental data sets available from the UK Natural Environment Research Council that could be used to develop new solutions to business problems.

“The power of bringing all the big data sets together is that we get a holistic view of the environment” – Professor Robert Gurney, NERC Environmental Information Coordinator

The Technology Strategy Board and NERC have invested £4m during 2014 to run feasibility studies which use environmental data to address a specific business issue in transport, food, agriculture, energy generation and supply, built environment and future cities or financial services.

Environmental data can be used to forecast changes in local climate.

Environmental data can be used to forecast changes in local climate.

Transcript

Professor Robert Gurney, NERC Environmental Information Coordinator

The Natural Environment Research Council is the main funder of environmental research in the UK. It funds work in universities and all the data are put in a set of data centres.

NERC has a set of centres: the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the British Antarctic Survey, the National Oceanographic Centre, the British Geological Survey, the National Centre for Earth Observation and the National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences. It also works very closely with allied bodies like the Met Office and increasingly with the range of catapult activities from the Technology Strategy Board including the Space Applications Catapult.

Wind speed data from anemometers help with environmental monitoring.

Wind speed data from anemometers help with environmental monitoring.

Earth observation data is inherently global measuring the earth from satellites. It includes information on sea surface temperature, land surface temperature, land cover globally and of the UK.

The geophysical data that are available, many different sorts, including physical samples as well as digital data, mainly for the UK for use for building, quarrying and the oil industry, and similar civil engineering activities.

The ecological and hydrological data include information about flooding and about land cover change, the biodiversity of the UK and is used mainly for flood mapping and monitoring, and also for making sure that we preserve the biodiversity of the UK.

Mashing up environmental data sets with geophysical data can help with flood prevention.

Mashing up environmental data sets with geophysical data can help with flood prevention.

Polar data mainly about the Antarctic is information about the atmosphere, ocean (including the life in the ocean), the geology, soils and the ice sheet and how they’ve changed in time.

A nice example is where the British Antarctic Survey discovered the ozone hole from looking at long-time series of atmospheric data.

The power of bringing all the big data sets together, is that we get a holistic view of the environment, not just a view from the geologists, or the view from atmospheric sciences.

We can really understand how the planet is changing, how the UK is changing, why it’s changing, and then use those predictions to know where to invest.

Combining environmental data with terrain mapping can aid climate forecasting for the UK.

Combining environmental data with terrain mapping can aid climate forecasting for the UK.

About the film

Filmed on location at University of Reading, Reading.

Director: Martyn Bull
Producer: Thomas Delfs
Camera: Paul Rudge
Editor: Liam Angell
Cast: Robert Gurney

Client: ESKTN 

Production company: insitu

Further reading

Professor Robert Gurney, NERC Environmental Information Coordinator

Professor Robert Gurney, NERC Environmental Information Coordinator

 

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