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SmallSats: a new technological frontier in ecology andconservation?

Curnick, DJ; Davies, AJ; Duncan, C; Freeman, R; Jacoby, DMP; Shelley, HTE; Rossi, C; ... Pettorelli, N; + view all (2021) SmallSats: a new technological frontier in ecology andconservation? Journal of Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation 10.1002/rse2.239. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

We are in the midst of a revolution in satellite technology, with the rapid development and advancement of small satellites (or SmallSats, i.e., satellites <180 kg). Here, we review the opportunities and challenges that such technology might afford in the field of conservation and ecology. SmallSat constellations may yield higher resolutions than those that are currently available to scientists and practitioners, increasing opportunities to improve environmental-monitoring and animal-tracking capabilities. They may cut access costs to end users, by reducing operational costs and bringing increased competition to the existing market. Their greater flexibility and affordability may moreover enable the development of bespoke constellations for specific conservation and ecological applications, and provide greater interoperability with ground-based sensors, such as tracking devices and camera traps. In addition, SmallSats may serve as cost-effective research and development platforms for new components and products. Combined, these benefits could significantly improve our ability to monitor threats to the environment as they unfold, while enhancing our understanding of animal ecology and ecosystem dynamics. However, significant hardware and software developments are required before such technology is able to produce, process and handle reliable and cost-effective data, and the initial research and development costs still represent a major challenge. Further, we argue that much remains to be done to ensure these new data products become accessible, equitable and sustainable.

Type: Article
Title: SmallSats: a new technological frontier in ecology andconservation?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/rse2.239
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/rse2.239
Language: English
Additional information: ª 2021 The Authors. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Zoological Society of London. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Biotelemetry, earth observation, nanosatellites, optical imagery, remote sensing, small satellites
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10134679
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