Sylvan Glade – a unique immersive forest environment – opens its doors to visitors.

by D. Tavener, Caribou Space

“Hello, my name is Doctor Isla Campbell, and I will be your guide. Here in Sylvan Glade, we will explore the forest and the branches of satellite Earth Observation together. I am here to answer your questions about how Earth Observation is used for forests. You can ask me anything in your own words. I will help you learn more about what is possible and what has already been achieved. I look forward to being your guide.”

Figure 1: Doctor Isla F Campbell was trained with information from EO4SD-FM to answer questions for all levels of Earth Observation (EO) expertise.

The European Space Agency’s, Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD), Forest Management activity is an ESA project aimed at deriving key geo-information products from Earth Observation data in support of forest development programmes. EO4SD supports the European Earth Observation (EO) industry to develop products that use EO data to solve a wide range of forestry challenges. In partnership with International Financial Institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, the best technology from European industry is developed for adoption into development operations and designed to be used by national government agencies all over the world.

Caribou Space believes that a major issue to the adoption of satellite Earth Observation within forestry lies in the scientific and technical complexity of the products and the varying levels of awareness of the unique capabilities offered by these technologies. All too often we have seen that the use of these products and tools is limited to a small segment of practitioners who have acquired skills, knowledge or experience to use these technologies, while others are unaware of the potential uses for the data and the possible resulting benefits.

Caribou Space have begun to explore the potential for dynamic storytelling to address this issue – whereby content is tailored and unique to each audience member to reduce the barrier of technical & scientific complexity. This allows the benefits of satellite Earth Observation to be communicated to audiences with varying roles, objectives and EO expertise, with clarity and precision.

Sylvan Glade is a virtual world where users can explore and inquire about EO through conversations with a virtual satellite EO guide, Dr Isla Campbell. Visitors to the forest can ask questions in their own words and can receive answers to their questions in non-technical language with case study examples from EO4SD Forest Management.

Sylvan Glade has been built as a proof of concept/Minimum Viable Product, and has known issues in user experience and performance, that are being carried forward as improvements for future versions. Constructive feedback is welcome, please contact: David (at) cariboudigital (dot) net.

Follow this link to play

Hardware Requirements:

  • Computer: Any desktop or laptop used for day-to-day work tasks is sufficient. Sylvan Glade is not built and tested for mobile/tablet.
  • Internet: It requires a stable, internet connection above 10 Mpbs. Mobile tethering doesn’t work well.


  • Loading: A black screen and white animation will take up to one minute.
  • Audio: When the forest is visible click the muted speaker symbol in the bottom right to activate the sound.
  • Navigating: Use the AWSD keys to walk around, and mouse or trackpad to look around.
  • Talking to Dr Isla Campbell: Stand near her, and whilst looking at her, press Enter, and type any question you want.

Exiting: Press Escape to exit.