We founded CyanoLakes in February 2015 after winning the 2014 Copernicus Masters Ideas Challenge for satellite applications. CyanoLakes was founded on a major breakthrough in research and innovation: an algorithm with the ability to distinguish between cyanobacteria and algae blooms.


The vision behind CyanoLakes is to protect public health by providing near real-time warnings on the risks to human health from cyanobacteria blooms using free and open satellite remote sensing data. This would empower the public to make informed decisions to protect themselves from the potentially adverse effects of cyanobacteria blooms, whilst also help water utilities and governments to significantly improve the coverage and frequency of their routine monitoring programs.


We started work on a prototype in 2015 following the awarding of a research grant by the South African Water Research Commission (WRC). The prototype web application 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. Daily updates began in January 2017 following the release of data from the newly-launched Sentinel-3A satellite of the Copernicus Programme of the European Union.


In July of 2018, we released the first version of our web application to commercial users. Having been approved as a technology by the Isle Technology Approval Group (TAG), we have since trialled and piloted with utilities from the US to Asia, and Europe to Africa, while learning and improving the product along the way. In 2020, CyanoLakes was approved by the Water Research Foundation’s (WERF) Lift Link technologies program. We received further funding from the WRC in 2020 to develop and release our mobile application, fulfilling the vision to provide free near real-time information to the public worldwide.



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. You can view his list of publications here, and his LinkedIn profile here.

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