October 2021: Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Development

Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India e-launched the latest research publication ‘A Study on Earth Observation Training Data Landscape in India’,  supported by GIZ India under the global project FAIR Forward: Artificial Intelligence (AI) for All and  Gubbi Labs.

Earth Observation (EO) platforms using satellite imagery data opens vistas for applying AI models enabling solutions to complex real-world problems such as predicting crop yields, monitoring deforestations. The study assesses India’s EO training data landscape, capturing challenges and opportunities for enabling an ecosystem for sharing training datasets, gaps in policy frameworks as well as recommendations.

Ms Ellen Kallinowsky, Group Head, Sustainable Economy and Digitalisation, Sector and Global Programmes Department, GIZ delivered the keynote address. She stated that EO data availability is currently focused on Europe and the West, and emphasised GIZ’s support in making open training datasets available in partner countries.

Prof. K. VijayRaghavan’s Presidential Remarks highlighted the need for building human resource capital in AI and developing challenging algorithms in research contexts and emphasized the role of domain training (Expert Systems, Natural Language Processing) in AI streams which is vital for the future solutions in societal context.

The e-launch was followed by a panel discussion on EO Training Data for AI/Machine Learning Applications in India, moderated by Dr Sudhira H S, Director, Gubbi Labs. Panelists - Dr P G Diwakar, ISRO Chair Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies; Prof Harini Nagendra, Professor of Sustainability, Azim Premji University; Mr Prateep Basu, CEO, SatSure; Mr R Bhubesh Kumar, Director, Food & Agri, Research and innovation circle of Hyderabad (RICH), Telangana. Key takeaways from the panel: high-quality standards with real-time data and a centralised repository with data exchange protocols to incentivise data sharing.

The PSA's office is behind India's upcoming remote sensing policy framework (SpaceRS 2020), a progressive move with potential for past, present and future EO satellite data to be made available, free of costs for download, usage and much more, at par with Landsat or Sentinel data.