By Mark Davison at Discover 2013, Barcelona – As more and more corporates commit to being more responsible for the environment, HP will play its part with a collaborative initiative with Conservation International (CI).
Announced today at Discover 2013, HP Earth Insights will dramatically improve the accuracy and speed of analysis of data collection in environmental science.
HP Earth Insights delivers near-realtime analytics and is already yielding new information that indicates a decline in a significant percentage of species monitored. The project serves as an early warning system for conservation efforts, enabling proactive responses to environmental threats.
The company declined to reveal its monetary contribution to the initiative, but it is thought to be substantial.
“We don’t publicly disclose our spending on projects such as this,” says Colin Mahony, senior vice-president and GM, HP Vertica. “But there’s a lot of effort, collaboration and volunteers involved. It is a great global project and we at HP take this very seriously. It is very important.”
HP Earth Insights applies HP’s big data technology to the ecological research being conducted across 16 tropical forests around the world by CI, the Smithsonian Institution and the Wildlife Conservation Society, as part of the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network.
Tropical forests are home to approximately 30-million species – half of all the plants and animals on earth – and generate 40% of the earth’s oxygen. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, tropical forests are vanishing at a rate of about 18 000 square miles (4,6-million hectares) per year.
Data and analysis from HP Earth Insights will be shared with protected area managers to develop policies regarding hunting and other causes of species loss in these ecosystems.
“In an effort to help create a more sustainable world, HP Earth Insights uses our products and services to deliver near real-time analytics to provide scientists with more accurate and more actionable environmental information, ” says Meg Whitman, president and CEO of HP.
“The results of the early warning system demonstrate the ability of HP to use big data to address the world’s most complex challenges for our customers and partners across sectors, industries and organisations.”
Peter Seligmann, chairman and CEO of CI adds: “HP Earth Insights is transforming environmental science. Until now, the right data, the technology and scale have been noticeably missing from our field. What once took a team of scientists weeks, months or more to analyze can now be done by a single person in hours.
“Tropical forests are a vital part of the planet’s life-support system – we need them for the air we breathe and to support a diverse and healthy ecosystem for agriculture, medicine and recreation,” says Seligmann.
“We know that we can’t protect what we don’t measure, which is why CI is extremely focused on accelerating our research and having the most accurate and current data to ensure that we are doing the very best to safeguard our natural resources.”
Currently, HP Earth Insights manages 3Tb of critical biodiversity information, including more than 1,4-million photos and more than 3-million climate measurements.
The project analyses, with unprecedented speed, the ever-increasing inputs related to species, vegetation, precipitation, temperature, carbon stocks, humidity and more, gathered from camera traps and climate sensors in 16 countries to deliver findings about the environment that previously were unknown.
HP Earth Insights makes its findings publicly available to empower policymakers and scientists to proactively respond to environmental threats as they emerge and work together to find solutions.
Dr Sandy Andelman, a key scientist at CI, says the importance of the data collected can’t be underestimated.
“In 2010, 193 countries couldn’t report on their rate of biodiversity as had been agreed upon simply because they didn’t have the data,” Dr Andelman says.
“My vision, the team’s vision and CI’s vision is to cover the planet with data and to be able to understand this data and create a diverse group of scientists across national borders and institutions to help understand what’s happening to our planet, what it means for people, and ensure that our children inherit the planet that we want them to.”
Some of the most recent findings from HP Earth Insights have revealed include:
* Of the 275 species being monitored, 60 species – or 22% – are either significantly decreasing in population or likely decreasing compared to baseline levels.
Findings indicate 33 of the species being monitored – or 12% – have significantly decreased in numbers. Among these are: the sun bear and the wild boar found in Malaysia (Pasoh Forest Reserve), the agile mangabey found in the Republic of Congo (Nouabalé Ndoke), and the greater grison found in Ecuador (Yasuni).
The population of the Western Gorilla, which lives in the Republic of Congo (Nouabalé Ndoke) and is considered a Critically Endangered species, is likely declining—approximately 10% from the 2009 baseline—according to new data.
The following insectivores are likely declining: the moonrat and masked palm civet found in Malaysia (Pasoh Forest Reserve), the banded mongoose, four-toed elephant shrew and checkered elephant shrew found in Tanzania (Udzungwa), the northern tamandua found in Costa Rica (Volcàn Barva) and large tree shrew found in Indonesia (Bukit Barisan).