In 2010 I realised that I needed a place to gather my thoughts, plans and projects, and that I often needed to deliver work through a corporate entity. So Isometrica was born in 2010 and through Isometrica I’ve managed to work with some really great people, help solve some truly challenging problems and all the time have fun doing so.

In my Isometrica Projects folder I currently have 17 areas of activity, though many of these are running in background and I’m only really active on a couple of projects at any time. It’s a measure, though, of the number of things that currently have my attention!

Most recently, via Isometrica, I built a great team to work on a novel way to calculate the CO2 emissions generated by agriculture. At a macro level, land use data can be used to calculate net carbon emissions, but this approach requires gross approximations, particularly in rural areas which account for 72% of the UK area. Land use across a farm unit will often change over the year and this further compounds the problem.

Micro-level tools can help to calculate a carbon footprint for households and businesses, including agricultural businesses. These models, however, are extremely detailed, requiring a lot of effort to gather the data required. These micro-level models are hard to use making uptake patchy and although valuable to the individual they will not help gather a regional picture.

More importantly, the micro-models don’t work well on a field-by-field basis that allows for changing use over the seasons. For example, a farm’s main product may be milk, but to feed the cows a farmer will make hay, cut silage and grow fodder crops such as maize. Each of these activities has a carbon footprint and aggregating the data to arrive at a net CO2-equivalent emission for a litre of milk is practically impossible.

Our meso-scale models use a GIS-based approach to assemble land use on a field-by-field basis and then derive CO2-equivalent emissions for each parcel of land that can then be aggregated to a farm unit, a region, an estate or a farming collective.

Developing the carbon footprint tool had to take a back seat during my work with Zetta but as that engagement ramps down I can now start work on this again, along with attacking that 17-project backlog.