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Intelligent maps award SLU-researcher the 2023 SKAPA-award of Västerbotten

Published: 31 October 2023
Award winners at the SKAPA-award ceremony in Västerbotten 2023

Through the Geographic Intelligence tool, SLU researcher William Lidberg has been able to leverage decades of geodata and create a product with significant potential. This is the assertion of the SKAPA jury in Västerbotten, which awards him the innovation prize for 2023.

The SKAPA prize has been awarded in memory of Alfred Nobel since 1986. It is a prize intended to promote the development of innovative products and services that can also lead to commercial opportunities. This year, a researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, is deemed most successful in fulfilling this in Västerbotten.

During a ceremony at the residence on October 27th, he received the SKAPA prize from Västerbotten County Governor Helene Hellemark-Knutsson for his AI tool, Geographic Intelligence. Jean-Fredric Birgersson was simultaneously awarded the prize for this year's SKAPA Talent 2023 for his tool, Kurr.

Visualizing hard-to-access data - with the help of AI

Researcher William Lidberg has utilized artificial intelligence to liberate a wealth of geographical data from the constraints of time and technology. Swedish authorities have long been collecting large amounts of information that are openly available but often in outdated and incompatible formats. With the help of his Geographic Intelligence tool, William Lidberg has been able to consolidate this map data into a technical tool with many applications.

The jurys own words:

Sweden is unique in having large amounts of open geographical data in the form of maps. However, these are often available in outdated formats, scattered among different authorities, and provide only a superficial picture. By adding artificial intelligence to existing data and technology, essential opportunities are opened up to conserve natural resources as well as economic resources.

This insight has been taken up by this year's winner of the Västerbotten SKAPA prize, Geographic Intelligence. The winner presents a service that, by combining AI with existing geographical information systems, effectively reduces risks of climate-related crises such as landslides, avalanches, or floods. The innovation is predicted to have a bright future and global demand.



About SKAPA:

SKAPA is a foundation established in memory of Alfred Nobel in 1985, and its first prize was awarded in 1986. The foundation is supported by Stockholmsmässan and the Swedish Inventors' Association with the support of Almi Företagspartner AB, VINNOVA, the Agne Johansson Memorial Fund, and the Swedish Patent and Registration Office.

The SKAPA Prize is Sweden's largest innovation prize and is awarded to individuals who have made meritorious contributions to innovation, creativity, and the development of products and services that can lead to commercial opportunities. The prize is awarded in two categories: the SKAPA Prize and SKAPA Talent for the youth. In each county, two county finalists are selected, who then proceed to a national final in Stockholm.

The county finalists each receive 10,000 SEK from the Agne Johansson Memorial Fund as well as a diploma. Almi also contributes 10,000 SEK each to the winners. The national SKAPA Prize is 500,000 SEK. This year, the final in Stockholm will be held on November 10th (Source: Länsstyrelsen Västerbotten).


William Lidberg, Associate Senior Lecturer at the Department of Forest Ecology and Management; Department of Forest Ecology and Management, joint staff

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