The latest with Lens: August 2023

Aug 9, 2023
Table of contents

What's New

One of the fundamental goals of Lens is to help folks assess and communicate the impact of their work. Visual storytelling with maps and data is a powerful way to showcase how lands are changing and understand the impact of natural and human interventions. For example, if I was describing the impacts of a 20,000-acre burn in California, it would be best if I could show you.

If you clicked that link, you found something you hadn't seen before: an interactive property in Lens that isn't in your account. Curious how you too can share your visual monitoring stories with others outside of Lens? Read on for more details and other exciting changes in Lens.

Lens Share Link

We’re making it easier than ever before to share your impact with partners and stakeholders. With the new Share Link in Lens, you can provide a link to a single property with anyone, regardless of whether they have a Lens account. Check it out here! Transparency is essential for knowledge-sharing and trust, and we’re excited to make it easier than ever before to share your story using Lens. To learn more about how to create Share Links, see our article here.

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New in Lens Library

Burn Index (S2 and L8)

Available for Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8 sensings, the Normalized Burn Ratio can provide insight into the timing and severity in burned areas. This can be used by organizations assessing pre- and post-fire conditions or monitoring vegetation recovery following a fire. It's also helpful for distinguishing burned areas from other types of vegetation disturbance. Learn more in our support article here.

Global Forest Loss

The Global Forest Change layer displays 30m data showing gross forest loss for each year from 2001 to 2022, derived from Landsat 8 imagery. This dataset makes it possible to assess the timing and annual extent of forest loss over the last two decades, which can support site assessments and baselining. This work is a collaboration between the Global Land Analysis & Discovery Lab at the University of Maryland, Google, USGS, and NASA. Read more here.

Sentinel-1 Surface Water (Radar)

This Surface Water dataset is derived from ESA Sentinel-1, launched in 2014 and captured approximately every 12 days. Sentinel-1 uses C-band synthetic aperture radar to collect data in any conditions, regardless of weather or time of day. This dataset is ideal for assessing water conditions in areas with significant cloud cover or storms, and applications include monitoring changes in bodies of water or post-disaster assessments. Read more here.

Native Lands Territories  

Native Land Territories is an open dataset developed by Native Land Digital, an Indigenous-led nonprofit based in Canada. This overlay maps Indigenous territories and is intended to shed light on the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations. To learn more about this dataset, see our support article here.

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Download your custom overlays from Lens  

You can now download overlays you’ve uploaded to Lens in the past from the Overlay Library - making it easy to download an existing overlay, edit in GIS, and then re-upload it to Lens. To learn more about overlays and uploading your own, see our article here.

Familiar with these use cases? We'd love to chat!

We're interested in learning about a few new use cases for Lens, and we'd love to hear from those of you who partner with organizations monitoring mine lands, wildfire, shorelines, waste sites, and transmission lines. Please reach out to us at lens@upstream.tech if you have any partners in mind we could connect with.

Planet Basemaps for NGOs discount

We're thrilled to announce a special nonprofit offer for Planet Basemaps through Lens! When you add a monthly or annual Planet Basemaps subscription in the Lens Library, you can now get 50% off with the code BASEMAPNGO50. This discount is exclusive to Lens customers and is a better deal than you can get anywhere else. These 4m pan-sharpened mosaic scenes are available automatically on every single Lens property every month, meaning you never need to wonder whether you'll have recent data available to order. Any questions? Reach out to us.

New Blog Posts

Interview: The importance of storytelling for nature based solutions

Read our interview with advisory board member MaryKate Bullen about the importance of storytelling for effective nature based solutions, and how storytelling molder her own career in forestry, climate, and conservation.

Monitoring for Biodiversity

Learn about the latest UN-backed agreement signed in 2022 to protect 30% of the world's biodiversity, and why data is so important for monitoring and measuring progress on targets.

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Where on Earth?

Any idea why this forested hilltop in West Virginia was spared from the coal mining that surrounds it? Here's the property if you'd like to see it in 3D. Take a guess - winner gets a shoutout in our next feature release.

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Imagery credit: USDA NAIP 2011 via Lens

Hot Tip

Want to analyze the area of an overlay polygon? Just hold down Option + A and click the overlay you'd like to analyze. This is handy for quickly visualizing changes in harvest or restoration areas. To learn more about adding your own custom overlays into Lens see our support article.

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Check out the rest of our knowledge base to learn more about working in Lens, and know that you can always reach us at lens@upstream.tech with any questions.

Happy Monitoring!

Miles & the Lens Team