Unveiling Aquatic Mysteries: Charting Blue Carbon With Planet Data


Identifying and mapping blue carbon, despite its vast potential, has posed significant challenges. Traditional approaches, which depended on labor-intensive field surveys, were not only time-consuming and expensive but also difficult to extend to broader coastal areas. This restricted access to essential data is crucial for effective coastal planning.

A lack of high-quality functional data and aquaculture literacy along the value chain has drastically limited the expansion of the industry. On the production side, many farms collect vast amounts of data but need help using them in a meaningful way to understand and improve their farm operations. This is further complicated by the fact that, unlike agriculture, aquaculture spans multiple species and production environments, making data collection all the more challenging.

At a global level, this gap in quality data availability is further highlighted by society’s push for a blue economy and carbon neutrality in recent years. Despite the immense potential of blue carbon, accurately identifying and mapping these valuable ecosystems has been a challenge. Previous methods relying on labor-intensive field surveys proved time-consuming, costly, and challenging to scale up to larger coastal zones. This limited the availability of crucial information necessary for effective coastal planning. Recognizing this constraint, UMITRON worked to revolutionize the process through their advanced technology and the satellite remote sensing capabilities of Planet.


UMITRON’s team of expert engineers, researchers, and biologists has been united in a shared mission – to install sustainable aquaculture on Earth and, in doing so, create a food-secure and environmentally safe future for our blue planet. Through their cutting-edge technology and deep commitment, they’ve been using their combined expertise in machine learning, IoT, and satellite remote sensing to change how we farm our oceans and address the pressures faced by the aquaculture industry.

From the beginning, it was understood that achieving their sustainability goals would require them to focus on every aspect of the value chain. As a result, they created production-focused solutions such as REMORA and CELL that use their bespoke machine learning algorithms to tackle crucial farming activities like feeding while also taking into account the adverse effects these activities can have on the environment.

Other tools, such as PULSE, utilize the Planet satellite remote sensing capability and their powerful algorithms to provide farmers with near real-time data and long-term water quality conditions at their production sites. This data is invaluable in helping farmers monitor the surrounding waters and better understand the environmental variability around their farms.

UMITRON has created a project to estimate the amount of blue carbon. In estimating it, they need to know where and how much seagrasses are growing. Since the area they were targeting was over 100 km2, it was difficult to observe everything with a drone. Therefore, they attempted to create a map from Planet satellite data. In creating the seagrass map, the frequency of photography is important.

This is because many factors are involved, not only the presence or absence of clouds but also the state of the ocean and the timing of the tides. Also, the spatial resolution must be high so as not to miss the eelgrass area. They compared several other platforms besides Planet and finally chose to use the PlanetScope product because of the high-frequency imagery updates and the quality of satellite images.


The UMITRON team of experts in remote sensing and artificial intelligence has also been able to apply their expertise beyond the production environment to develop a new method to efficiently locate and map blue carbon sinks in large coastal areas, a feat that previously proved to be laborious and time-consuming when applied at that scale.

UMITRON’s solution unlocks greater opportunities and empowers global coastal communities to leverage the potential of blue carbon and contribute to the fight against climate change. Their successful demonstration in Japan has paved the way for other countries to adopt the same approach and efficiently manage their national carbon accounting and planning.

Using the maps they created, UMITRON was able to successfully estimate the amount of blue carbon. The estimated content and maps have already been used to discover previously undiscovered seagrass. They have found that PlanetScope speeds up the cycle for the creation of eelgrass maps, and hope it will accelerate efforts to increase blue carbon on Earth.

Leave a Comment