The Natural Capital Project: Deploying Big Data and Cloud To Value Nature
The idea that natural capital is important and that a global economy that is prosperous in the long-term will rely upon markets that reflect the full cost of things has been gaining momentum. The Natural Capital Project is part of that momentum and it is now utilising Microsoft’s cloud along with big data technologies to help with analysis and data visualisation to support municipal policy-makers and businesses, particularly in and around cities.
Cities depend on the value of natural capital in several ways, including flood protection from wetlands and marshes and trees to help create cleaner air. The challenge is quantifying those impacts and that value in economic terms.
For this research, Microsoft’s cloud technology will provide information via satellite imagery, remote sensors and model that data showing the results in a mobile format that could be utilised by public and private sector actors. The data can then be utilised to improve buildings, transportation and energy grids.
The Natural Capital Project is a ten-year partnership between Stanford University, the Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund and the University of Minnesota.