Remote Sensing Consultant via Idealist

Amazon Conservation Association

Washington, DC, US

About the Organizations

The Amazon Conservation Association (ACA), founded in 1999, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting biodiversity by developing innovative conservation tools to protect Amazonian habitat while supporting the livelihoods of local communities.

The Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), founded in 1996, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting South American rainforests through the empowerment of indigenous people.

Project Description

The Andean Amazon maintains large tracts of intact forest, but increasing deforestation is now

one of the most critical problems facing the region. ACA and ACT are partnering on an innovative new project aimed at improving knowledge of emerging threats through a remote sensing analysis to identify hotspots, patterns, and drivers of deforestation across the Andean Amazon in near real-time. This work builds off ACA’s near real-time deforestation monitoring system known as MAAP ( by expanding the analysis from Peru to also include the rest of the Andean Amazon (Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia). The ultimate goal of the project is to provide this cutting-edge technical information to policy makers in an accessible format to facilitate effective policy action.

Duties and Deliverables

ACA and ACT seek a remote sensing consultant to assist with the near real-time deforestation monitoring efforts. Under the guidance and mentorship of ACA and ACT staff, the consultant will:

  • Analyze LANDSAT-based near real-time forest loss alerts (GLAD alerts from the University of Maryland) to identify key deforestation patterns and hotspots across the Andean Amazon.
  • Analyze high-resolution imagery (mostly from DigitalGlobe and Planet) to identify key drivers of deforestation.
  • Analyze deforestation data in relation to radar-based freshwater bodies data (another partner will create water data).
  • Experiment with cutting-edge new tools and datasets, such as Kernel Density and Emerging Hotspots tools from ESRI.
  • Download and organize satellite imagery and other spatial data relevant to forest cover monitoring.
  • Prepare internal reports summarizing methodologies and key findings of the research.
  • Support the creation of final maps and reports aimed at policy makers, civil society, media, and public at large.

Generate and/or edit spatial data, including metadata, using ArcGIS.

Required Qualifications

Advanced GIS and remote sensing skills, with a particular emphasis on the remote sensing component, and interest in environmental conservation and indigenous land rights.

  • A minimum of two semesters of ArcGIS coursework, or equivalent work experience.
  • Experience working with multispectral satellite imagery and an understanding of imagery band combinations.
  • Knowledge of the basic principles and practices of cartography and data management.
  • Ability to create and edit spatial data and geodatabases using ArcMap and ArcCatalog.
  • Ability to use Adobe Illustrator and/or InDesign is not required but advantageous.


  • Knowledge of Spanish.
  • A passion for saving the planet and learning about rainforest conservation issues.

Location and schedule

Position is based in Washington D.C. (ACA office) and Arlington (ACT office). Schedule is flexible as agreed upon by supervisors and may occasionally include working remotely. It is estimated that the consultant will spend an average of 20 hours per week to perform tasks and produce deliverables.