Alexis Clemons

Identifying the ROI of Remote Monitoring with TNC

Key change

Monitoring conservation properties is a big job, but new technology makes it easier.

In 2019, The Nature Conservancy in California (TNC CA) integrated remote monitoring into their stewardship practice using Lens. The organization was looking for a way to utilize technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their annual conservation easement and fee lands monitoring. After experimenting with other forms of remote monitoring, they became a bold early adopter of Lens. Lens provided access to a range of imagery suitable for monitoring, a robust platform for visual and analytical monitoring techniques, and tools for documenting and recording observations. It helped TNC CA monitor their portfolio of properties remotely by comparing current and historical imagery, and in return, TNC generously provided feedback that shaped the product and set new standards for remote monitoring in the land trust community.

In 2020 and 2021, TNC expanded Lens to other TNC state and national chapters. The results recorded by the organization are impressive. Remote monitoring with Lens resulted in an average 28% reduction in costs and a 57% savings in personnel time. These savings can be redeployed towards more strategic conservation work.

Aerial imagery of boats on the shores of Santa Cruz Island. The property boundary is displayed as a white line. © 2014 USDA NAIP

Additional benefits the TNC team experienced when incorporating remote monitoring include: 

  • More comprehensive monitoring efforts through increased observation of large remote properties, many of which had never been visited on the ground.
  • Limiting travel to rugged, difficult-to-survey properties, making monitoring safer.
  • New changes and violations detected and documented that had been missed with in-person monitoring.
  • Greater flexibility for monitors’ workloads and reduced time invested in monitoring.

The Nature Conservancy in California has shared this success story on their website. Read the full story to learn how they’re leveraging technological innovations to scale up their conservation impacts. Additional details about the partnership between Lens and TNC CA can be found in a detailed whitepaper published by the organization. We’re proud to partner with TNC and support their work protecting land and water, preserving biodiversity, tackling climate change, and building healthy communities. 

Have a question about Lens? You can reach us at to learn what Lens can do for you or visit our plans page to get started today.

Satellite imagery of grassland wildflowers in California. Imagery resolution: 0.5 meters. © 2021 Airbus Pleiades