CyanoLakes (Pty) Ltd was founded in February 2015 as the winning business idea in 2014 Copernicus Masters Ideas Challenge for satellite applications. CyanoLakes is founded on a major breakthrough in research and innovation: an algorithm with the ability to distinguish between toxic cyanobacteria blooms and (non-toxic) algae blooms.


The CyanoLakes idea centres around a free public information service providing daily warnings to the public of the risks to human health from cyanobacteria blooms and water pollution using free and open satellite remote sensing data. This empowers the public to make informed decisions to protect themselves from the adverse effects of cyanobacteria blooms, whilst helping water utilities and governments monitor for cyanobacteria and algal blooms in near real-time. Save the planet and also help businesses.


Work began on a prototype in 2015 following the awarding of a research grant to CyanoLakes (Pty) Ltd by the South African Water Research Commission. The prototype, dubbed the “Earth Observation National Eutrophication Monitoring Programme” was built around the needs of the South African Department of Water and Sanitation, who became the first user, using the information to fill gaps in their monitoring database and for reporting. The prototype began daily updates in January 2017 following the public release of data from the newly launched Sentinel-3 satellite.


CyanoLakes was released commercially in July of 2018.



Values equal value. Our values guide the services and products we deliver to our clients.


Public data, public access


Open, excellent science


Information, not just imagery


Customer-driven development


Customer service excellence


Reproducibility, truthfulness


Collaborative relationships



Mark Matthews


PhD in bio-optical remote sensing


Mark Matthews is a proudly South African scientist and entrepreneur specialising in the remote sensing of cyanobacteria from space. He has a PhD in bio-optical remote sensing from the University of Cape Town where he currently serves as an honorary research associate. You can view his list of publications here, and his full profile here.

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