Carbon Mapper: accelerating local climate action, globally

Locating, quantifying and tracking methane and CO2 point-source emissions from air and space

Precision

We use precision visible-infrared imaging spectrometers on satellites and aircraft to locate, quantify and track methane and CO2 point-source emissions and many other environmental indicators.

Persistence

The Carbon Mapper constellation will provide daily to weekly sampling of priority regions around the globe, adding a powerful new tier to Planet’s existing fleet of earth imaging satellites.

Transparency

We’re making our methane and CO2 data available to the public on an ongoing basis through our global open data portal, providing accessibility and transparency to maximize impact. Our partners at the California Air Resources Board will provide certification and ground truth of our methane data in California to help improve confidence in the global data set.

Impact

To pave the way for the Carbon Mapper constellation, our prototype airborne platforms are conducting remote-sensing surveys of methane point sources in key regions across the US. Since 2016 our flights have been illustrating that super-emitter activity occurs in every economic sector. Some of our data has been used by regulators and facility operators to help guide leak repairs.

Who We Are

Carbon Mapper, Inc., is a non-profit (501c3) organization with a mission to deliver and guide the adoption of digital public goods that facilitate timely action to mitigate human impacts to Earth’s climate and ecosystems.

We’ve assembled a public-private partnership including Planet, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the State of California, the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, RMI, and our philanthropic sponsors.

Our Plan

Carbon Mapper has three main objectives:

Help accelerate mitigation of methane super-emitters

Independently verify power plant CO2 emissions globally

Deliver 25+ other hyperspectral indicators for carbon and ecosystem management

To meet these objectives, we will deploy a constellation of satellites and aircraft equipped with high performance visible/infrared imaging spectrometers with the ability to identify, quantify and attribute global methane and CO2 point-source emissions at the scale of individual facilities and equipment.
The methane and CO2 data will be made freely available via Carbon Mapper’s global data portal to ensure maximum transparency. To promote trust and broader adoption, the State of California will maintain its own data portal and will independently review, ground-truth and validate the Carbon Mapper data while advancing new mitigation strategies and working to expand those strategies through its partners in other jurisdictions across the US and globally. Additionally, Carbon Mapper will maximize the use of the data by supporting an ongoing research program and by conducting outreach and stakeholder engagement to ensure policy relevance.

See Our Data

Since 2016 we’ve been using aircraft equipped with prototype versions of our satellite instruments along with other observing systems and data sets to assess methane emissions in representative regions and economic sectors across the US. Visit our prototype data portal to explore multi-scale methane data for California. And stay tuned for updates as we expand coverage to other regions.

Urgency

As a society, we have less than 10 years to meet critical milestones in greenhouse gas emission reductions (particularly methane) and improved conservation of ecosystems, biodiversity, and other natural resources. There’s still time to act but meeting these ambitious targets requires an all-hands-on-deck mobilization on many fronts without delay. Carbon Mapper’s goals are to contribute to the growing community of organizations working to offer science-based guidance to decision makers at all levels of society.

Progress and Next Steps

Carbon Mapper is deploying a multi-scale emissions monitoring system from air and space. We’re currently building two demonstration satellites that will launch in early 2023 and plan to expand to a fully operational constellation of many satellites by 2025. The latter will provide daily to weekly sampling of high priority regions globally. We initiated an effort with Teledyne Imaging Systems two years ago to develop the critical focal plane arrays that form the heart of our imaging spectrometer instrument. The first two assemblies were delivered in January 2021 and our first major program design review is scheduled for late summer. Meanwhile, since the climate clock is ticking, we’re working to help accelerate near-term mitigation action through expanded surveys of key regions in North America using our remote-sensing aircraft, supporting efforts by the US Climate Alliance, state agencies, and other partners.

Carbon Mapper program timeline

Our first Focal Plane Array assembly

Ongoing airborne remote-sensing surveys

Preliminary Satellite Configuration