MAKING ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION DATA ACCESSIBLE TO ANYONE, ANYWHERE
WEB-BASED DATA PLATFORM
PRODUCT STRATEGY / AGILE DEVELOPMENT / GOOGLE EARTH ENGINE / APPLIED AI
01. The Brief
Founded by ETH Zurich's Crowther Lab in collaboration with Google, Restor was conceived to accelerate the restoration of nature.
We worked with Restor's data scientists and the team at Google Creative Lab to make ecological data intelligence open and accessible to the world.
02. The Approach
Our initial phase focused on defining a lean but viable private beta — a V1 release would need the seeding of a baseline of live restoration project data.
Working alongside Google Creative Lab designers and technical stakeholders, our Product and Engineering teams developed a Product Requirements Document to inform and align both the experience design and technical design processes.
Working with a complex data spec and broad feature requirements introduced risk to a traditional "fixed delivery" mindset. Applying an agile development process helped keep Siberia, Google and Crowther teams focused on an outcomes oriented private beta and public release.
Launch a private Beta allowed an opportunity to onboard a full time Crowther Lab product team while collecting live data for public launch. Through a combination of technical and product documentation and live onboarding sessions, full ownership of the codebase was transitioned to the newly hired team prior to public release.
03. The Output
A Global Hub for Nature Restoration
Thousands of local communities, NGOs, governments, and businesses share and monitor their projects on Restor, the largest network of conservation and restoration sites across the globe.
Earth Engine Data Visualizer
We designed an architecture that would allow the visual layering of multiple Earth Engine data sets behind our drawing layer. This gave users a tool for comparative analysis where they can both visualize and view the statistics of disparate data sets.
An intelligent API layer managed the caching of these large data files and calculations behind the insights, serving a digestible and performant feed to the front-end for repeat viewing and low-bandwidth field work.
Creating a Project
Users can either upload their own site data, or use drag and drop functionality to map a potential restoration project site. Restor returns instant insights on local biodiversity and other variables like soil pH, land cover patterns and annual rainfall to assist in site analysis.
From a collapsable dashboard view, users can monitor site change over time using high fidelity satellite imagery, add their own photos and data, and track progress over time.
The publishing of project sites allows users to share progress and explore similar sites both locally and globally. The intent is to foster a growing community and create new connections between groups doing similar work.
"Restor is making essential scientific data and high-resolution satellite imagery openly accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world with an internet connection."
Kate Brandt, Chief Sustainability Officer, Google
There are over 120,000 and counting active projects on Restor. Soon after launch, Restor was recognized as a finalist for the prestigious Earthshot Prize, a new program launched in 2021 by the Royal Foundation and Prince William.
Restor also became a supporting partner in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. New features are being iterated and released on a rolling basis by the Crowther Lab product team.
Our favorite validation will always come from the users themselves. Below is an excerpt from a feedback email received during Beta testing.
"When I bought this farm in 2007 it was a bit of a garbage dump and a car and truck junkyard. I enjoy seeing how it's moved back to nature over the 15 years. Restor has given me a place to feel my small bit along with others is restoring the earth, repairing the damage."