Descartes Labs awarded DARPA grant to create new technology for global forecasting

Descartes Labs announced it has been awarded a grant by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as part of its SBIR Phase II program. This grant acknowledges the work Descartes Labs has done to consolidate petabytes of satellite imagery into a cloud-based platform built for analysis and scientific forecasting.

With this SBIR grant, Descartes Labs seeks to demonstrate a next generation automated food security capability to analyze, monitor and forecast wheat crop across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This area is of high importance globally as food security, population growth and environmental stress intersect with and drive migration, political instability and conflict.

“We are honored to have our forecasting technology recognized by DARPA’s SBIR program. Our team has been pursuing opportunities to extend our platform in support of various agencies and this is just the beginning,” said Mark Johnson, co-founder and CEO, Descartes Labs. “We see this project with DARPA as an opportunity to increase access to this powerful platform and drive positive change across the globe. This work will help expand our understanding of remote sensing data and gain new insights into the availability of natural resources in the area and their impact on food supply.”

Descartes Labs has trained agricultural models to generate daily U.S. crop forecasts for corn and soybeans, and now seeks to take the analysis further to better understand how food crops affect humanity on a global scale. The proposed SBIR system aims to be able to assess how weather patterns and human changes like population and migration affect crop health, and how and where crops are planted. This monitoring platform also seeks to identify and track crop contamination and disease, and provide timely alerts of food production failures so communities and leaders can react immediately.

About Descartes Labs
Descartes Labs is a technology company advancing the science of forecasting by creating the first breathing atlas of the world. The team has developed a platform that applies machine learning to massive data sources like satellite imagery, resulting in better forecasting, monitoring and historical analysis. Descartes Labs’ mission is to ask the hard questions and solve the most challenging forecasting problems today, so we can better understand the happenings of planet Earth and prepare for the future. Descartes Labs was founded in 2014 and is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For more information, visit: