Episode 22 of the NewSpace India podcast had Narayan Prasad (NP) talking to Devleena about her company, Numer8. Numer8 is a Mumbai-based data science company that uses data obtained from Earth observation satellites to solve problems like disaster management, coastal community monitoring, infrastructure monitoring, wildlife, and biodiversity protection.
The present episode of the podcast talked about fishing and how Numer8’s app Ofish helps in this regard. They provide a mobile application to the fisherman who use the app to determine places to fish and also see what price they can get from the market for their catch. The fishermen use the app using transponders that were fitted on the boats by the respective State governments. Some also rely on mobile networks. At the same time, Numer8 also provides a dashboard to port authorities to protect the coasts and prevent over-fishing.
The app supports Tamil, Sinhala, English, Marathi and Bengali languages currently. It protects data obtained from satellite by providing limited field of view of about 20 km, with no data provided for fishing beyond 20 nautical miles and also not sharing data to fishermen in other countries.
The geospatial data is primarily sourced through NASA and Europe’s Sentinel data. Devleena says that timely data from ISRO has been an issue but they hope to use data such as the Ocean Colour Monitor data from OceanSat.
There were also two other brief discussions that I found interesting and I note them here for my own reference.
The app is an example of a downstream application of geospatial data. This means data obtained from satellites is provided to a customer in an easy to use format. This has been difficult to do in the Indian situation with not many companies looking at these downstream applications. As much as we need private companies to build space hardware and software we also need companies that can use the products obtained from putting satellites in orbit. Numer8 is one example of such a company.
In the past, ISRO has sold its fishing data to the Fisheries Department and relies on the Fisheries Department to get the data to the fishermen, who are the end user. This ended up with fishermen having data that they did not understand and spending too much time at sea to obtain their catch. This was the transmission of data from Government agency to another Government Agency which relayed the data to a Customer (G > G > C). The presence of Numer8 inserts a private entity in this supply chain. So, the flow of data becomes (G > P > C). This led to improvement in way by which data was presented to the end user or customer and ensured that the data was used by the same. The Private company studied the end user, found out why existing products were not used and made sure that the data was usable.
The second point related to Numer8’s contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Devleena said that theirs was the only startup that presented to the UN that the oceans could be as much a source of food as land. Numer8 suggested that better data could feed people while ensuring that ocean fish population was not over-fished.