January 24, 2023 -- Toronto -- Today, Ecopia AI (Ecopia) announces a partnership with the State of Alaska, in collaboration with Rasmuson Foundation and Dewberry Alaska, to create the state’s first ever comprehensive map of buildings and broadband serviceable locations. The resulting data will be used to secure federal funding for the expansion of broadband services throughout underserved communities.
Before working with Ecopia, the State of Alaska lacked critical data for broadband network planning, putting the state at a disadvantage when applying for BEAD (Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment) Program funds1. Established by the bipartisan infrastructure law, the BEAD Program prioritizes funding for underserved community access to broadband by identifying service levels at individual locations. To understand these individual service levels and apply for this funding, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires an up-to-date database of buildings. Until now, less than 5% of Alaska’s buildings were mapped, preventing the FCC from allocating appropriate BEAD funding to underserved Alaskan communities.
“Without the data from Ecopia, the State of Alaska was at an immediate disadvantage for receiving funding to expand broadband services,” said Hillary Palmer, Geospatial and Technology Manager at Dewberry Alaska. “Now we have a source of truth with which we can identify broadband serviceable locations and secure federal funding for network expansion throughout Alaska.”
Leveraging satellite imagery, Ecopia’s world-class artificial intelligence (AI)-based mapping systems extracted every building in the State of Alaska. This includes buildings within Alaska’s unorganized borough, which comprises more than 70% of Alaska’s landmass and ranks 4th highest in population. Traditionally, reliable GIS data for rural areas such as the unorganized borough did not exist. By working with Ecopia, the State of Alaska now has an accurate, up-to-date, and complete map of every building, in both rural and urban areas.
With Ecopia building footprint data, Dewberry consultants are assisting the State of Alaska in mapping and analyzing the broadband service levels at individual locations throughout the state, informing FCC applications for BEAD funding that will ultimately result in more Alaskans having access to broadband and the opportunities associated with increased connectivity.
“Ecopia is proud to provide the State of Alaska with such a critical component to their GIS infrastructure,” said Sean Lowery, Senior Director of Product and Business Development at Ecopia. “We believe in using AI for good, and are thrilled to enable the expansion of more equitable broadband access across Alaska.”
About Rasmuson Foundation
Rasmuson Foundation is a family Foundation based in Anchorage, Alaska. Rasmuson Foundation’s main funding areas are health care; the arts; organizational and community development; human services; and solutions to homelessness. Affordable, accessible broadband is a new area of interest. The Foundation was created in 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson, a Swedish missionary, to honor her late husband, banker E.A. Rasmuson. For more information, visit rasmuson.org
About Digital Equity
The Foundation is partnering with the State of Alaska’s Office of Broadband around digital equity, doing outreach to eight population groups (seniors, veterans, incarcerated individuals, people experiencing disabilities, people who speak English as a second language, rural Alaskans, diverse populations and low-income individuals) to understand barriers to accessing broadband. The information gathered will help inform the plan for Alaskans to achieve digital equity, promote digital inclusion and to drive the adoption of broadband.
Headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, Dewberry Engineers, Inc. is a leading architectural/engineering firm with roots as a family-owned surveying company. Dewberry Alaska is proud to be a local Alaskan presence of Dewberry Engineers, Inc. To learn more, visit dewberry.com
About Ecopia AI
Ecopia is on a mission to create a digital twin of the Earth. We leverage artificial intelligence to convert high-resolution imagery into high-definition (HD) vector maps. These maps form a digital representation of reality and are embedded into decision-making applications, offering unique insight at scale. Ecopia’s HD vector maps are leveraged for hundreds of commercial and government applications across over 100 countries around the world.
If you're ready to leverage groundbreaking advancements in artificial intelligence, let's chat. For more examples of Ecopia's extraction capabilities, please view our samples.