Water Availability (Pixalytics)



Pixalytics has derived soil moisture content, water body height and water extent – which includes both water bodies and saturated ground – information using microwave data from Earth observation (EO) satellites that can be used to identify and map water sources and water availability. Microwave EO data has the benefit of not being affected by cloud, and when combined with other data sources provides an invaluable and practical way to monitor water sources over wide areas and in countries where similar information is often sparse.

Solution benefits

  • Time savings in monitoring water sources through easier data availability, and financial savings by not having to maintain physical equipment or record in situ measurements.
  • EO has advantages over ground-based measurements for mapping large areas in developing countries.
  • Comparisons of satellite-derived water extents over time can show areas of diminishing open water with variations of water height for larger water bodies, for example, crops planted around the margins of lakes can encroach over time.
  • Soil moisture can indicate the availability of water for crops.
  • Allows the processing of historical data for new sites to see trends in water sources over time.

Key technical features

  • Pixalytics product uses satellite EO data with a variety of spatial resolutions, including the whole of the country down to 10 metre resolution.
  • Primarily uses free-to-access Sentinels and other space agency satellite missions, such as those operated by NASA and NOAA.
  • Based on microwave data that provides information in cloudy conditions.
  • Combines the power of different satellite-based instruments and processing techniques to understand a more comprehensive picture of water availability.
  • The water extent product is running in near real time and is updated every time one of the Sentinel-1 satellites passes over Uganda, allowing an updated map of the full country to be generated every month. Whereas, the water height product is point values over specific water bodies.
  • Runs within a cloud-based computing system with the outputs integrated into the specific platforms being developed for the DFMS system for Uganda and the EcoProMIS project in Colombia.
  • Also available via a web-portal for other customers who only need a device and internet connection.

Case studies

As part of the Ugandan Drought and Flood Mitigation Service (DFMS), funded within IPP, Pixalytics has developed a suite of water-focused EO products that support the Ugandan government alongside a wider range of DFMS individual users in understanding water availability. The EO products are being combined with ground-based and modelling inputs from other project partners within DFMS, to support an early warning system for future potential floods and droughts enabling national and local organisations to provide advice to farmers to enable them to take actions to reduce the risk from these events.

Within the EcoProMIS project, which started in 2018, Pixalytics is initially developing a series of vegetation monitoring products specifically tuned to rice and oil palm. However, water availability is a key concern for sustainability, and so we will be investigating these products for their applicability to Colombia.

Organisation overview

Pixalytics is a trusted independent Earth observation consultancy. We combine cutting-edge scientific knowledge with satellite and airborne data to provide answers to questions about our planet’s resources and behaviour. Our services include scientific consultancy, spatial analyses & data management, training, research and development services across both marine and terrestrial remote sensing. We offer some unique Earth observations products through our Pixalytics Portal and collaborations with other organisations linked to IPP projects and other activities.