News

Data Services Update – January 2018

There’s quite a lot that is new with our Data Services; what’s on offer, and how the data are licensed. You can sign up for a free account to download free Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery (and other, satellite-derived products) or sign up for a Premium account to do much more. You can access the data portal here.

Our Data Services products are capable of delivering multiple insights
Benefits of our Free account
  • Download readily available imagery from the Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites
  • Access satellite-derived products that reveal information about our environment including habitats, soil, fire risk, agriculture, wetlands and forests.

Data available from Free accounts:

  • Seasonal Sentinel-1 (radar) imagery:
    • Summer 2016 image
    • Autumn 2016 image
    • Winter 2016 image
    • Spring 2017 image
  • Annual Sentinel-2 (optical) imagery and derived products:
    • 2016 ‘True Colour’/Red Green Blue (RGB) image
    • 2016 Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) image
    • 2016 Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) image
    • 2016 Nitrogen Reflectance Index (NRI) image
    • Optimised Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (OSAVI) image
Benefits of our Premium account:
  • Search our satellite image catalogue for the dates you need
  • Upload or draw your own areas of interest
  • Select the satellite-derived products you want (NDVI, EVI, NRI etc.)
  • Download only the areas you need
  • ‘Mask’ out cloud using our innovative cloud masking algorithm
What are the ‘satellite derived products?’
  • ‘True Colour’ Image/Red Green Blue (RGB) – The colours in a ‘true colour’ image appear as they would to a human. Suitable for visualisation purposes and observing change.
  • ‘Science Ready’ Image (Red Green Blue + NIR) – A multispectral image that provides information about the reflectance of blue, green, red and near-infrared light. Suitable for visualising changes in plant health, producing indices and classification.
  • Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) – A measure of vegetation productivity (measure of ‘greenness’). Bright areas correspond to healthy, productive vegetation. Bare ground and urban areas will appear dark.
  • Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) – Similar to NDVI, EVI is used in areas of dense canopy where the large amounts of chlorophyll can affect the suitability of NDVI. EVI helps to correct for soil background signals and atmospheric influences.
  • Optimised Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (OSAVI) – In areas where vegetation is sparse and soil is visible, OSAVI can be used to assess the abundance and vigour of vegetation. It is similar to NDVI, however it compensates for the effects of soil reflectance.
  • Plant Senescence Reflectance Index (PSRI) – An increase in PSRI indicates increased canopy stress, the onset of canopy senescence and plant fruit ripening. Applications include vegetation health monitoring, plant physiological stress detection plus crop production and yield analysis.
  • Nitrogen Reflectance Index (NRI) – Predicts plant nitrogen status. Can be used to estimate plant parameters and yield potential.
  • Modified Normalised Difference Water Index (MNDWI) – Using MNDWI is one of the most popular methods for water body mapping. It overcomes the shortcomings of NDWI by using shortwave infrared to replace near infra-red used in NDWI. In the last few decades, it has been widely applied to produce water body maps at different scales.
Our existing Sentinel-1 products are as follows:
  • Backscatter – A measure of the strength of the radar signal (measured in units of Sigma 0). Band 1 (VV) shows surface scattering; a rougher surface or urban areas with lots of right-angled structures generates higher VV backscatter. Band 2 (VH) relates to volume scattering; randomly oriented volumes, such as forests, generate higher VH backscatter than flat surfaces such as bare soil.
  • Backscatter with ratio band – The basic backscatter product with an additional ratio band. The ratio band helps visualise the product in an RGB composite, and also provides a measure of vegetation density. The ratio correlates well with biomass similar to optical indices such as NDVI NB: Backscatter products can also be produced on a decibel (dB) scale. This is useful for visualisation as you can see more detail in vegetation, but should be avoided for analytical purposes.

If you want to know more about interpreting our Sentinel-1 imagery check out our video here.

Sphere Newsletter – Winter 2017 Published

In this issue there is an update on our Data Services provision, another trip to the Caribbean this time to the island of Montserrat, ecosystem services assessment in Norfolk, a successful planning application for a hydro-electric scheme in Wales and the launch of our new ethics policy. We wish you all a successful 2018 and look forward to catching up with you soon. View and download the PDF here.

Sphere Newsletter – Autumn 2017 Published

We have just published the Autumn 2017 edition of our Sphere Newsletter. In this issue there’s news of a recent project for Bristol Water where we used our SENCE toolkit to map ecosystem services to enhance water regulation and biodiversity. News too of our Data Services API – built on an open API standard it is now possible to directly access all the services we have on offer. We are spending more time in Latin America thanks to the EO4cultivar project and we attended our first Agricultural trade show in Colombia. You can download the newsletter from here.

Sphere – Summer 2017 Published

The latest edition of our Company newsletter, ‘Sphere,’ has been published and you can download it from here.

In this issue of Sphere there’s news of two projects focusing on Ecosystem Services, plus an R&D project that uses our data processing expertise to monitor agricultural productivity. There’s an update of our Data Services Platform which now provides a ‘Premium’ option enabling subscribers to select precise areas of interest and the time of data capture. Sentinel-2 data will join Sentinel-1 data and be available later this year.

Sphere Newsletter – Spring 2017 Published

We have published the Spring 2017 edition of our newsletter which you can view and download here.

In the last issue of Sphere we reported our intention to deliver a data service based on Copernicus Sentinel data. Today you can try it for yourself and if you read on, you can find out more about our plans for the future. Elsewhere in this issue there’s news of new projects in South America, and Africa where Earth observation is very much to the fore. Back at home our Ecology Services Team has been busy with a planned hydropower project in Mid Wales.

Environment Systems joins the Natural Capital Coalition and GODAN

Environment Systems has recently joined two organisations as partners.


The Natural Capital Coalition is a global multi-stakeholder collaboration that brings together leading global initiatives and organisations to harmonise approaches to natural capital. The Coalition is made up of almost 250 leading organisations united under a common vision of a world where business conserves and enhances natural capital. The Coalition’s strength comes from its diversity, and from a shared belief that more can be achieved together than alone. Find out more here.


GODAN supports the proactive sharing of open data to make information about agriculture and nutrition available, accessible and usable to deal with the urgent challenge of ensuring world food security. It is a rapidly growing group, with nearly 500 partners from national governments, non-governmental, international and private sector organisations that have committed to a joint ‘Statement of Purpose.’ Find out more here.

Recognition for Avon Wildlife Trust

Avon Wildlife Trust has won the Dame Mary Smieton Research Award 2016, which is administered by the Wildlife Trusts, for its State of Environment and My Wild City mapping and associated project work. Environment Systems is proud to have been closely involved in this work and of the recognition it has received.

“The Wildlife Trust’s Strategic Development and Research Committee, felt that your research into ecological network and ecosystem mapping in Bristol and across the West of England was of a very high quality and of potentially great significance to the movement.”

You can find out more about My Wild City – in our case study.

You can find out more about our ecosystem mapping for the West of England Nature Partnership in this case study.