Introducing Aurora: Pixxel's Earth Observation Studio

December 12, 2023
Amy Zammit
Introducing Aurora: Pixxel's Earth Observation Studio

Pixxel's revolutionary Earth observation studio, Aurora, is set to transform the way we interact with satellite imagery. Tackling the challenges of traditional GIS software, Aurora offers an intuitive one-stop solution with a low technical entry barrier.

Handling vast data and configuring clunky GIS software can be cumbersome. Using traditional geospatial analytics platforms is laborious, expensive, time-consuming, often lacks user-friendliness, and requires extensive training for remote sensing scientists. Moreover, the solutions available across the value chain from ordering satellite images and image exploration to processing and generating insights are need to be more cohesive.

Recognising these issues, Pixxel is set to reinvent the entire geospatial experience with the anticipated launch of Aurora in early 2024, providing early access to a limited set of customers in February.

Going beyond the typical functions of an image processing platform, Aurora aims to stand out as an intuitive one-stop solution, offering a comprehensive developer’s toolkit that seamlessly simplifies a range of geospatial tasks. This transformative solution boasts a low technical barrier entry, a built-in marketplace, and the ability for users to create and customise their workflows. Aurora will be an end-to-end toolkit, offering users the freedom to extract tailored insights from various Earth observation datasets.

What is Aurora?

Aurora is Pixxel's comprehensive platform for remote sensing and Earth observation. It goes beyond simply delivering satellite imagery to customers. Pixxel is committed to creating a cutting-edge platform that becomes the preferred choice for image analysis, replacing costly legacy software and offering unprecedented capabilities.

Aurora’s dashboard at a glance.

Aurora is strategically designed to meet the diverse geospatial needs of businesses, private entities, and government sectors across industries such as agriculture, forestry, oil and gas, mining, environment, climate sciences, and urban monitoring. With a versatile focus, the platform caters to geospatial analysts and engineers, developers, data scientists, machine learning engineers, and non-technical business leaders. Aurora’s inclusive approach targets decision-makers, emphasising its value across various organisational users.

Key Differentiators

Aurora's features are not just checkboxes; they are a manifestation of a commitment to delivering a seamless and comprehensive user experience.

Seamless user experience and chat-based interface

Aurora offers a one-stop solution, allowing users to seamlessly order and analyse imagery. Drawing Areas of Interest (AOI), selecting date ranges, and exploring satellite imagery from different sources become intuitive tasks, available on one user-friendly dashboard. Aurora will also feature an intuitive chat interface, allowing users to effortlessly convey their requirements for auto-generated results and redefine the way users interact with geospatial data.

Aurora aims to be a one-stop shop for Earth observation, enabling users to run analyses, generate insights, and download their results.

Intuitive analytics tools

For a comprehensive analysis, users can apply preset or custom indices like NDVI, NDWI, and more, and utilise composite bands. The split compare feature enables dynamic comparisons of raster files from different dates, offering a nuanced view of changes over time. Additionally, Aurora provides spectral graphs, offering insights into pixel characteristics and temporal changes.

Several visualisation tools, including the split compare function, are readily available on the platform, allowing users to generate easily interpretative insights. This split comparison shows the coastal conditions before and after an oil spill that occurred in the Saronic Gulf on the 10th September 2017. In this example, the contaminants (yellow) are differentiated from the water (red).
The spectral graph enables users to visualise spatial and temporal changes in spectral data of different points on the AOI.

Marketplace access

The platform’s marketplace acts as a repository for deploying different models, with ready-to-deploy analysis initially focused on Sentinel data. As Pixxel expands, analysis will be readily available for hyperspectral and other datasets, with early adopters gaining limited early access to Pixxel’s hyperspectral data. The ready-to-deploy models available upon launch include:

  • Cloud Gap Fill
  • Crop Stress
  • Land Use/Land Cover (LULC)
  • Optical Fusion
  • Segmentation
  • Image Clustering
  • Change Detection
  • Farm Boundary Detection
  • Crop Growth Monitoring
  • Crop Biophysical and Biochemical Parameters
  • Crop Type Classification
  • Crop Yield Estimation
  • Crop Species Identification
  • Forest Biomass Estimation
  • Forest Pest Detection
  • Water Quality Monitoring
  • Algal Bloom Monitoring
  • Mineralogy
  • Principal Component Analysis

The marketplace is a hub for different machine-learning models, applicable to various use cases.

Simple workflows

With simple drag-and-drop model building, users can directly access and run analyses. Workflows including various models are seamlessly integrated into the platform, providing a cohesive and adaptable environment for users.

Aurora hosts a no-code environment for running models. Users can simply drag and drop different processing blocks into the workflow canvas to generate quick results.

Collaboration and data sharing

Organisational administrators can customise Aurora according to their unique requirements. This involves designating roles across users, preventing unauthorised access and limiting sensitive information exposure. It also streamlines collaboration with a structured hierarchy and task delegation.

With a focus on collaboration and data privacy, organisations can manage their team members and data access with ease.

Affordable cloud-based platform

Utilising cloud-native technologies, parallel processing, and asynchronous processing, Aurora efficiently handles task-heavy processing. This ensures a seamless user experience without compromising image quality.

Aurora’s Mission: Immediate and future phases

In the first phase, Aurora aspires to be a comprehensive ecosystem for users, providing a sandbox-like environment to seamlessly integrate preferred data and models.

The goal is clear: make Earth observation analysis accessible and user-friendly.
This translates into a streamlined user experience, enabled through a natural language-based chat interface, reducing dependency on specific customer interactions and ensuring easy access to satellite imagery and visualisation capabilities.

What sets Aurora apart is its ambition to host a marketplace with an array of models, indices, image exploration tools, and automation capabilities using workflows that democratise geospatial analytics for users.

Aurora lets you draw or upload custom shapefiles, access huge databases of satellite imagery in one place, and apply custom filters to help users choose the best image(s) for analysis.

The future phases are even more ambitious. The platform will incorporate hyperspectral imagery not only from Pixxel’s demo satellites in orbit today but also the upcoming 5-meter imagery, offering users in-depth insights into their data. Furthermore, the plan is to expand data sources through partnerships, creating a planetary health monitor with complementary datasets. The future holds the promise of an interactive platform where users can receive instant insights without the need for manual model execution.

Heatmap showing the locations of a few hyperspectral imagery samples from Pixxel’s demo satellites in space (as of Dec 7, 2023). These will be updated frequently as more imagery is captured and processed by Pixxel.

Pixxel's commitment to continuous development, user experience, and democratising geospatial analytics is evident in every aspect of Aurora. As Pixxel continues pursuing innovation, the launch of Aurora stands as a testament to the team's dedication to providing cutting-edge solutions and shaping the future of geospatial analytics.

The launch timeline includes an exclusive early access opportunity for those on the waitlist in early 2024, followed by public access in the year's second half, providing a clear roadmap for users eager to experience Aurora's solutions.

Join our exclusive early access list now to be among the first to experience Aurora and unlock numerous advantages.