XCAM Ltd, based in Northampton, designers and manufacturers of specialized digital imaging systems, has joined a consortium of leading UK industry and academic partners, led by The Open University, to undertake a scoping study which will push the limits of leading CMOS TDI sensors and optimise system configuration to develop a new satellite platform for the classification, characterisation and monitoring of trees across urban and rural landscapes. The results from this study will inform and support a bid for full funding of the project.

Funded by the UK Space Agency, the study for the project, called TreeView, will transform the ability to measure, map and monitor the health of trees from space. The UK is leading the way in response to the global climate emergency, with a commitment for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. A programme of significant tree planting for carbon sequestration and storage is planned by the UK government as part of this response, and applications in the emerging field of Precision Forestry such as TreeView will be crucial to the success of these initiatives. The satellite’s goal, if successful, will be to provide information on the level of tree planting, and the health and management of trees across urban and rural landscapes, providing vital data to governments, industry and third sector organisations.

Karen Holland, CEO of XCAM explained further, “We are delighted to be part of this scoping study over the next four months and look forward to hopefully designing and building the complex imager required, should the project succeed to the next stage of funding. In this first feasibility stage, we will be evaluating the imager system requirements and available technology, develop a suitable imager design concept and cost up towards building the imager, and preparing it for integration and subsequent launch.

XCAM Ltd, celebrating 25 years in business, is currently experiencing significant growth in sales from around the world, with its busiest year ever, including new contracts with the European Space Agency (ESA) and several highly prestigious innovation award nominations. The success is based on its worldwide reputation and outstanding knowledge in the field of digital imaging systems, including the ability to solve complex problems.

TreeView is led by Kadmiel Maseyk from the School of Environment Earth and Ecosystems and involves the Next Generation Multi-Media Group from Computing and Communications, and the Centre for Electronic Imaging. The external partners are XCAM Ltd, In-Space Missions Ltd, RAL Space, Teledyne e2v, Forest Research, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Grey Consultants Ltd and 2Excel-geo.