Developing a forest encroachment monitoring system: GeoT is partnering with Laval University

Laval University and GeoTraceability will work together to develop a forest encroachment monitoring system adapted to large-scale sourcing operations in developing and emerging countries. 

Deforestation and biodiversity loss are major issues in many supply chains, including palm oil, cocoa, coffee, soya and beef. Pierre Courtemanche, GeoTraceability’s CEO, said, “The system being developed will send automated alerts to our customers when their sourcing areas are at significant risk of deforestation and land use conversion.

"Customers will receive an email or SMS with details of the location and the magnitude of the risk. Digital maps will let customers see exactly where the risk is, allowing them to validate the risk and take action,” Courtemanche explained.

Martin Béland, professor in the Geomatics department at Laval University, said, “The system will be able to monitor medium to large areas covering hundreds to thousands of square kilometers, using the latest technology in remote sensing and data analysis.”

The team from Laval is composed of three professors, a professional researcher and two graduates. They will develop an application to continuously query satellite imagery, which will be used to analyse possible changes and issue alerts.

GeoTraceability will develop the web interface for receiving and displaying the locations and details of alerts. The system will also send notifications to customers and provide ‘validation’ functionalities. GeoTraceability will identify opportunities to test the system with customers in countries where deforestation risk is significant.

The collaboration between GeoTraceability and Laval University is being funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The project is due to last three years. Both organisations are excited about this project and the benefits it will have for users of the system. We look forward to communicating the results of the project in due course.

For further information please contact Steven Ripley (, Program Manager at GeoTraceability, or Martin Béland (