SATELLITE data has been used to create an accurate map showing the varying levels of fuel poverty in Scotland.

It is one of the main projects devised by data specialists at Astrosat (Astro Science and Technology), a Scottish firm described by its founder and CEO Steve Lee as an “ideas factory”.

Astrosat leverages space data to help communities, society and natural environments, and developed he fuel poverty map while working with the European Space Agency.

“The granularity of fuel poverty in Scotland was not as mature as in rUK, so we improved this considerably for Scotland,” Andrew Fournet, Astrosat’s innovation and business developer, told The National.

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“The fuel poverty layer helps energy providers and local authorities to understand where to invest to create warmer homes, which also supports the transition to net zero.

“The fuel poverty data was computed using data gathered from space and from the ground and it encompasses Astrosat’s machine learning algorithms to generate predictions for the future.

“We have presented this to energy providers and local authorities including Glasgow Caledonian University, who have validated our work.”

Lee – who graduated in Astrophysics from Edinburgh University – founded Astrosat, which is now based in Musselburgh, in 2012 as an “ideas factory” to use data from space to solve problems on Earth.

Although not publicly available, the data is accessible through Astrosat’s Geographic information system (GIS) platform ORBIS, and Lee is keen to use them to help local authorities and the public benefit from its insights.

Alongside the fuel poverty map is another project – Isolation Plus – which uses the fuel data layer to understand poverty in general within the community and how it relates to people who may find themselves vulnerable and isolated during the pandemic.

“The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the need for our communities to come together and support each other,” said Fournet.

“Society will transition out of the lockdown phase and into a ‘new normal’ way of living.

“Communities who are most at risk of suffering from the impacts of Covid-19 are the ones comprising of individuals who are not known about by the healthcare services, local authorities (LA) or community voluntary organisations (CVO).

READ MORE: Fuel poverty: UK Government missed 2020 targets and on course to fail in 2025

“These individuals could be just one step away from suddenly finding themselves in need of help.”

Fournet said these communities were termed the “hidden vulnerable”, and added: “Astrosat’s Isolation Plus project will leverage the strengths of space data in combination with publicly available ground data to identify these ‘hidden vulnerable’ communities.

“We will work with user organisations … charities and third sector organisations, to reach out and support them so that we can overcome this unprecedented period and emerge stronger than ever before.”