Satellites, sensors and statistics – from environmental data to decisions

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Abstract: The environment impacts upon many aspects of our lives, from acute perils such as floods and storms to everyday concerns including air quality, transport, food supply and finance. The potential impacts of climate change are not yet well understood but are vital to longer-term planning. We are gathering huge amounts of data about our environment, on all scales from local to global: satellites produce terabytes of data every day and a rapidly-increasing number of sensors monitor a wide range of phenomena. How can we make sense of all this data and turn it into useful information from which we can all benefit? In this talk I will present an overview of the wealth of data and techniques available to us, and show why we need to combine skills from environmental science, mathematics and information technology. I will illuminate these through a set of concrete examples of how environmental data can be put to diverse and sometimes surprising uses.

Jon Blower is the Chief Technology Officer for the Institute for Environmental Analytics (IEA), a partnership of academic and commercial organisations, based at the University of Reading. He has a background in geoscience with a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge and a PhD in physical volcanology from Bristol. After working in industry as a software engineer he joined the University of Reading in 2003, and joined the IEA when it was formed in 2015. He leads a number of collaborative projects in the area of environmental informatics and visualisation, applying advanced techniques in information technology to make environmental information more accessible and useful for researchers and decision-makers. - @env_analytics (


6.00pm: Arrival , Networking
6.30pm: Welcome and Opening remarks, Christophe Le Lannou & Tom Khabaza
6.35pm: Satellites, sensors and statistics by Jon Blower
7.30pm: Refreshments and More chatting

An event of The Society of Data Miners ( in association with The Royal Statistical Society (