Development Seed, Annual Report


3 min read

Development Seed builds products that draw insight from complex data, helping people make better decisions. We work with non-profits and civic for-profits addressing the worlds biggest challenges. We use open technology, modern cloud infrastructure and thoughtful design practices to quickly build and scale our meaningful data driven tools.

In 2016, we built bigger and better products; we reached our biggest audience; and we worked with the largest sets of open data we’ve ever touched. We pioneered new approaches to machine learning and monitoring earth from space. We traveled the world working with governments to track agriculture, electricity and road projects.

82dda0a323f0  0DbVgR7r80ouP3pBE

82dda0a323f0  09qEdNP7jM1CRNBlK

Development Seed operates as a non-profit. Our work with transparency and development partners supports our open source work, e.g. sat-utils, prose, dirty reprojections, and skynet.

Blowing the roof off

82dda0a323f0  0HUZY3WfSujQFj3CN

Our project with The Washington Post, building live election maps was our most visible project in 2016. Tens of millions of people have interacted with our maps, along with more than 100 other syndicates in The Washington Post network. On election night, The Washington Post broke records for the number of people on the website. The maps not only withstood the load, but were consistently a minute or more faster than competitor sites. Our maps allowed users to track up-to-the-moment election results, through an easy-to-use interface that worked on all devices, and also gave The Washington Post team the flexibility to highlight the most important coverage as results came in.

We are working with NASA (Yes, that NASA :swoon:) to build Cumulus, a cloud-based tool for processing science data from satellites, planes, and ground sensors. NASA currently maintains over 6,100 data streams from sensors in space and on the ground. Cumulus is still in the prototype phase, and we are working closely with NASA and USGS data operators to streamline and centralize processing of data streams from near realtime hurricane data to climate data.

82dda0a323f0  0FIFKSgYWj4tDeufU

We’re helping the development community use satellite data to track and understand our Planet. Our Skynet tools bring modern machine learning methods to automatically extract features from satellite imagery — such as roads or damaged buildings. We built a powerful earth monitoring platform for Astro Digital, that automatically processes new satellite imagery from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) and delivers it straight to your app or inbox. We also expanded OpenAerialMap, enabling drone operators to more easily contribute data, helping them quickly collect drone imagery after a natural disaster.

82dda0a323f0  0O3iTnkR XNOOk1 Q

We built practical tools to address climate change. We partnered with OpenAQ’s effort to end air inequality, by collecting and organizing the world’s air quality data. The OpenAQ network, collects critical data to inform research and policy decisions. As of this morning, 34.5 million measurements, from 4,706 locations, in 43 countries have been collected. We also worked with the Carnegie Endowment to build the Oil Climate Index, a tool to monitor the climate impact of different oils around the world. OCI allows investors, policymakers, industry, and the public, to see how we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, without changing consumption levels, by making better decisions about the types of oils we use.

And much more. Read about some of our other projects.

Growing the Family

I’m so incredibly proud to be part of this team and happy to announce that this truly impressive group grew by three team members this year.

Devseed brewery bike tour Devseed brewery bike tour

I’m also incredibly grateful to the wonderful partners, collaborators, and rabble rousers that we work with. I can’t wait to show off what we are cooking up for 2017.

See you at SatSummit!

What we're doing.