School of GeoSciences Research

Space and satellite technology

Our innovative research in satellite observation and data modelling is making a difference from helping local environments and economies to informing national and international policies. Find out how we are monitoring environmental impacts, extreme weather and tackling climate change.

A satellite communications tower under the stars at night

Earth observation involves gathering information about the Earth's physical, chemical, and biological systems using remote sensing technologies such as satellites.

We are leading the way in harnessing the potential of Earth observation in the era of big data, using drone and satellite observations.  Through data-driven innovation, we are delivering new platforms, techniques and applications to analyse large Earth system datasets of varying size and veracity, analysed over different timescales to reflect differences in the timing of relevant decision-making.  

Our School leads the Space and Satellite Innovation Programme within the Bayes Centre as part of the University's Data-Driven Innovation Initiative within the Edinburgh Region City Deal.

We also lead the SENSE Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) for Satellite Data in Environmental Science.  SENSE encourages multidisciplinary approaches and collaboration featuring partners across academia, industry, and the third sector.

We have won numerous awards for our data-driven research in space and satellites, including from the UK and European Space Agencies.

Forests, landscapes and agriculture

We have pioneered research in process-based modelling, data assimilation and remote sensing of forests. Our work has underpinned the development and implementation of national and international policies to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

Carbon monitoring

Our team of researchers are world leaders in techniques used to estimate global terrestrial carbon fluxes from satellite data. Our work is helping governments around the world to meet the UN Paris Agreement goals on carbon stocktakes.

Ice-sheet and glacier melting

Our researchers have spearheaded new methods to collect invaluable satellite data and developed new computer modelling techniques to monitor and predict changes in the Earth's ice-covered regions. Our work is providing key input to climate change decision-making worldwide.

Weather and extreme events

Through the use of better data for decision making, we can provide forecasts in near real-time. This work impacts the lives of hundreds of millions of people worldwide, from everyday life and economies through to improving early awareness of catastrophic extreme weather events that can save lives.


Our staff and alumni have launched successful innovative start-ups that work closely with our School, University and industry partners.  Many have employed students and alumni and are working on projects with organisations such as the United Nations, Google, the Scottish Government, the European Space Agency and more.

Collaborate with us

We work with various organisations in the private sector, from start-ups, consultancies and SME's to large multi-national corporations, facilitated through our Business Development Team.  

We have over 100 academics engaged in world-leading research that can help organisations address today's big challenges.  Our academic staff regularly engage with organisations worldwide, providing independent advice and specialist expertise.

Working with business and industry

Want to know more?

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