Insights from Space: Assessing Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis

The role of space data in assessing the industrial and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

The COVID-19 crisis caused by the novel coronavirus has disrupted nations around the world and has impacted almost all industries in the global economy. A number of governments around the world have imposed lockdowns and travel restrictions, which have brought the world to a standstill. Major manufacturing companies have stopped producing goods apart from some who have been tasked to produce ventilators and other critical health equipment. Shipping activities around the world have dropped due to the imposed quarantine policies impacting global supply chains. The aviation sector has been heavily hit with mostly all passenger flights cancelled leading to airline companies filing bankruptcy filings. As a result, pollution levels have dropped around the world, thanks to the reduction in industrial emissions as well as due to reductions in commuting in the cities. It is, therefore, crucial for institutions and companies to understand the level of impact of this crisis, in order to not only quantify this impact, but also to plan for policies and strategies for the future.

Data from satellites plays a crucial role in monitoring the changes on Earth. There are over 700 so-called Earth observation satellites currently imaging the Earth every day and data from satellites have been archived for over two decades. This data has a huge role to play in understanding the impacts of the crisis thanks to worldwide coverage of the data, providing the ability for organizations to go back in time, detect and monitor changes on specific areas of interest. With satellite data, it is easy to monitor changes in the manufacturing plants, observe the impact on the ports to identify drop in shipping activities as well as to spot the changes in the number of active flights around the world. This data when combined with official statistical data as well as economic and pricing trends can provide useful insights for quantifying the level of impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Strong advancements in data fusion, artificial intelligence and cloud computing make it possible to merge these different sources of data facilitating an innovative approach to make strategic, data-driven decisions.

This paper will present how satellite data could provide insights on the impact of confinement measures implemented by governments across the world and identify some ways satellite data could be used to quantify the industrial and environmental impact of the COVID-19 crisis along with how PwC Insights from Space can support organizations in performing these impact assessments.

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Luigi Scatteia

Luigi Scatteia

Associé Consulting - Responsable activité spatiale, PwC France et Maghreb

Tel: +33 1 56 57 58 46