Clark University is the first academic institution in the world to become a founding member of PLACE, a nonprofit data trust that works with governments across the world to develop hyperlocal image data to serve the public interest. By joining the PLACE Community, Clark will support the technology organization’s commitment to ethically map urban areas by collecting ultra high-resolution imagery, and to make the imagery open, dependable, secure, and accessible to governments and members.
Lyndon Estes, associate professor in the Graduate School of Geography (GSG) who has supported PLACE as an advisor since its inception, noted that Clark researchers have a long history of creating and using remote sensing imagery to closely examine the relationships between people and their environments and develop solutions to global challenges, including those that will be worsened by climate change.
“Clark’s partnership with PLACE will offer our researchers new opportunities to study the processes underlying global change, particularly urbanization, improving our ability to identify solutions to some of our most pressing challenges,” Estes said.
Students and scholars at Clark — including faculty who focus on human-environment interaction, urban-economic geography, geographic information science, and earth system science — can benefit from working with PLACE’s growing library of imagery, learning materials, training resources, and case studies, he added.
For instance, Estes, an environmental scientist who investigates the drivers and impacts of agricultural change in Africa, including how rural agricultural change is connected to urban food demand, sees great potential for using the imagery in ongoing work that examines how urban food markets shape agricultural systems and contribute to food security.
“We are excited to welcome Clark University into the PLACE Community. Academic institutions such as Clark are critical to the PLACE mission. They ensure the data in the PLACE Trust will be used to help understand and respond the world’s greatest challenges, such as climate resilience, population growth and resource management, whilst always being in the public interest,” said Denise McKenzie, managing partner for the PLACE Trust.
PLACE is a technology organization formed from Omidyar Network (ON) in early 2020. The organization solves for inefficiencies of modern-day mapping by creating a trusted intermediary between the public and private good providers through a membership model that creates a club good, and which follows Locus Charter principles.
Additional members of PLACE include Radiant Earth Foundation, ESRI, Global Land Alliance, Chemonics, IO Aerospace and many others. For a complete list of members, visit the PLACE website.