places to watch: designing rapid response to deforestation alerts

In coordination with researchers and data scientists at Global Forest Watch / World Resources Institute, my task was to design a rapid-response system for real-time deforestation alerts, crowdsource information within the GFW network to investigate the cause and effects of the deforestation, and produce insightful storytelling via timely publications.

Quote from the Global Forest Watch blog describing Places to Watch:

Automated Analysis: Most Places to Watch locations begin with an automated analysis, which identifies the concentration of 30-meter resolution GLAD deforestation alerts in areas of intact forests and protected areas. The system uses an automated index to select the top ten places in Central America, South America, tropical Africa, mainland Asia and Southeast Asia. Read our technical note for more information on the ranking methodology.

However, Places to Watch locations are not limited to areas detected using this automated criterion. When available, we will also include areas of recent forest loss identified manually using GLAD deforestation alerts.

Human Curation and Investigation: GFW experts review all computer-generated places to determine the areas of greatest concern based on evaluation of satellite imagery, contextual information and their own expert knowledge.  The GFW team then shares these locations with the world and calls on our network to collect further information about what’s taking place in these locations. When relevant, we’ll share these stories produced by our network in the Places to Watch newsletter.


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