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A new AI-generated map of the world’s trees and renewable energy projects could help fight climate change

A map of the world, with light blue indicating areas over open oceans where there isn’t satellite imagery from Sentinel-2.
A view showing the parts of the world covered by SATLAS using images from Sentinel-2 satellites. | Image: Allen Institute for AI

A first-of-its-kind map of renewable energy projects and tree coverage around the world launched today, and it uses generative AI to essentially sharpen images taken from space. It’s all part of a new tool called Satlas from the Allen Institute for AI, founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

The tool, shared first with The Verge, uses satellite imagery from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellites. But those images still give a pretty blurry view of the ground. The fix? A feature called “Super-Resolution.” Basically, it uses deep learning models to fill in details, like what buildings might look like, to generate high-resolution images.

For now, Satlas focuses on renewable energy projects and tree cover around the world….

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