Working across sectors in an AI Sweden-led hackathon challenge, new partner Maxar Technologies provided satellite images that resulted in new applications and Chalmers University increasing the precision of their research project. Read on to learn more about their work with the AI Space Challenge and working together across sectors.

Maxar Technologies integrates machine learning in almost every step of their organization, making the partnership with AI Sweden a natural fit. Gustav Tapper, Line manager at the 3D data Enrichment team, says, 

“We want to be a part of moving the AI-development forward in Sweden and to spark an interest in working with satellite images.”

Satellite imagery is a critical tool for society. It provides social benefits, such as supporting conservation programs, providing reliable broadband to remote populations, and assisting organizations with satellite data during natural disasters.

Gustav Tapper at Maxar Technologies.

AI Space Challenge for Social Good

Maxar recently participated in the AI Space Challenge for Social Good together with researchers from Chalmers University, Swedish National Space Agency and CGIT. The challenge addressed poverty prevention with satellite data provided by Maxar (ortographic images from their 3D model over different areas) to measure population density and living standards per image. Participants were recent graduates and high school students. 

“There’s a big interest in working with satellite images, but we need more experienced people in the area. That’s something we hope our partnership with AI Sweden can result in,” Gustav says.

For the country and region that was included in the competition, the researchers at Chalmers and Linköping increased the resolution of their data from 3*3 km to 0,3*0,3m by accessing Maxar’s satellite images. And in return, Maxar gained a new application for their satellite data.

Adel Daoud, Associate Professor at the Global Development Lab at Chalmers University  and Linköping University believes working together across sectors is beneficial to both parties.

“To us at the AI and Global Development Lab, we found it exhilarating to participate in the AI Space Challenge. Witnessing how young talents tackled problems that we encounter daily was a valuable learning experience for us. The competition showcased a multitude of innovative solutions, and it was a pleasure to exchange research concepts with Maxar,” he says. 

Niclas Fock, Senior Advisor at AI Sweden, agrees and emphasizes the networking possibilities for partner companies.

“For private sectors like Maxar, the partnership allows them to discover new areas to implement their satellite images and connect with potential talent,” he says.

The winners got to visit AI Sweden’s Edge Learning Lab, Φ-lab @Sweden, and Cyber Security Lab. Some of the participants got the opportunity to join AI Sweden’s Young Talent Program which you can read more about here.

Going forward, Maxar hopes to contribute to the AI Sweden community by showcasing and sharing how they work with machine learning to create derivatives from the 3D-data. They are eager to come in contact with other partners who want to explore satellite data, with a specific focus on the forest industry – don’t hesitate to reach out to collaborate or arrange activities together.


Want to read more about the benefits of cross-sector collaborations?


Read more about AI Sweden’s work with space: