Monitoring Palm Mills with MapHubs

From the sprawling palm plantations of Sumatra to the supermarket shelves of Europe, tracing the journey of a palm oil kernel from farm to plate is no small feat. This makes linked deforestation to one particular farm devilishly complicated. This is because palm oil supply chains consist of millions of smallholder farms as well as giant international agriculture conglomerates with land holdings up to three times the size of Luxembourg or twice the size of Delaware.

Despite the complexity of supply chains, linking deforestation to specific actors has become possible. A combination of strengthened regulations, NGO campaigning, open data, and technology breakthroughs, has brought increased transparency to deforestation and who is causing it. This has placed increased pressure on the industry to put zero deforestation commitments into practice. At MapHubs, we want to make the transition from opaque to transparent palm oil supply chains fast, secure, and affordable. We are starting with mills.

The Mill Bottleneck

While palm oil comes through a convoluted chain of suppliers, at some point, it must pass through a mill for processing. Mills need to be close to farms, so deforestation close to a mill is a good starting point for assessing supply chain deforestation risk.

Palm oil near Bogor Indonesia (Source: Achmad Rabin Taim from Jakarta, Indonesia - P3260481, CC BY 2.0,

The decision by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to require members to disclose palm mills has spurred some of the world's largest palm oil purchasers and traders such as Cargill, ADM, and Olam to release their palm mill suppliers. These disclosures are important step towards and achieving zero deforestation supply chains and provide a great opportunity to understand which mills operate in areas of deforestation risk.

Introducing Our Palm Mill Tool

To help companies, governments, and NGOs begin assessing mill risk, we've built a tool into MapHubs Forest that analyzes deforestation. Our palm mill tool runs a deforestation report for any mill loaded into a MapHubs system, provides historical deforestation, recent forest alerts, as well as loss of specific land use classes such as intact forest landscapes. It works in three steps described below.

Step 1 - Load Your Mill Data into MapHubs or Use Ours

You can upload mills in a variety of formats (e.g., kml, .csv., shp, etc). If you don't have a database, we can help you get started by loading an open data mill list that we maintain and. We can also load a variety of other palm oil relevant datasets such as land classes, concessions, and other layers.

Step 2 - Run a Forest Report

Once mill points are in MapHubs, you can run a forest report for the mill. Click on the mill location, choose the buffer (e.g. 25km, 50km, etc), and run a forest report. The report will give historical Tree Cover Loss 2001-2017, GLAD alerts which can be customized by year and canopy cover. You can also estimate distances from the mill with our handy travel time tool, which uses road data to estimate travel times to the mill.

Step 3 - Map and Share

Embeddable interactive map of mills with contextual data (link)

With MapHubs you can also create your own interactive maps. Once you have run your report, you can turn your deforestation alerts into a map layer, combine them with other layers in your MapHubs portal, and make an interactive map of you results. With our Map Maker, overlap your alerts with land use classes such as peatland, satellite imagery, palm oil concessions to make a customized map. The map can then be shared privately or publicly through a share link, embedded in third party websites, shared through social media, or printed for publication.

Customizable, Supported, and Secure

MapHubs portals are secure, come with our support if needed, and are customizable to fit your needs. If you need to monitor mills for a specific land class time such as peatland, we can customize the forest report dashboard to your needs. We can also help with loading data, running analysis, and with general mapping needs. We can usually assist you within 24 hours. Security is important for our clients which is why we’ve built MapHubs software with standard encryption, user management, and two-factor authentication features.

Coming Soon...

We are currently developing automated mill monitoring, which will allow users to monitor deforestation across thousands of mills simultaneously with a wide range of data from fires and forest alerts, historical deforestation, land use and more. Mills can be divided into lists by company, geography, or risk factors and then sorted and ranked. The results for individual mills can be viewed with details stats and an interactive map.

If you would like a demo, please contact us at

If you would like a demo our mill tool please email us as info(at)