If a tree falls in this forest, an Outland Analytics cellular IoT device will hear it.

Learn how Outland Analytics uses Particle cellular IoT solutions to keep our forests vibrant, and reduce illegal logging and deforestation.

Alex Schab article author avatarAlex SchabAugust 05, 2019
If a tree falls in this forest, an Outland Analytics cellular IoT device will hear it.

Growing up in rural upstate New York, Elliot Richards and Edward Buckler got to know the forests well. But increasingly they noticed the forests they love are at risk. From illegal logging to tree-killing insects, threats to the forest are real and pressing. Rather than accept the decline as certain, the two founded Outland Analytics, a startup that uses Particle cellular IoT solutions to monitor forests to help eliminate illegal logging.

The pair recognized a major obstacle in preserving our planet’s forests: they’re massive, and the funding and infrastructure needed to protect such vast swaths of land are often insufficient. In the US, for example, forest rangers help to deter illegal logging, but there is often only one ranger or police officer for every half a million acres of public land. With so few officers dedicated to such an enormous space, protecting these treasured spaces is nearly impossible.

Giving the forest cellular-connected hearing

Image showing the deployment of a sensing device in the heart of the forest — a tree truck feet above the forest floor.

Deploying a sensing device in the heart of the forest.

With their knowledge of engineering and computer science, Elliot and Edward decided to maximize the effect of their resources by creating cellular connected devices that would listen to the forest. They originally designed a solution using an Electron, but have since moved on to the smaller form factor of the E SoM.

“Instead [of patrolling] these really large forests, they can respond to in-progress crimes.”

Elliot Richards

Each of the cellular devices listen to the sounds of the forest and send a signal up to the cloud for quick signal analysis. The system can detect the difference between the rip-roar of a chainsaw and more natural forest sounds of birds and breezes. It’s an efficient, effective solution.

As a result of their work, each Outland device is capable of monitoring up to 150 acres of forest. This helps rangers reduce the amount of ground they need to cover, and helps to accurately determine where illegal activity may be taking place.

Listening to our problems to help protect our future

Since Elliot and Edward first began working at a solution at Outland, their product has performed successfully in the Adirondacks and the Catskills. There are even plans to conduct paid pilots with US agencies like the US Forest Service. Eventually, they hope to roll the cellular product out internationally as part of US-based global initiatives. Click here learn more about Outland Analytics and here to explore Particle cellular IoT solutions.