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European Association of Remote Sensing Companies
Updated: 1 hour 33 min ago

UrtheCast and e-GEOS collaborate to offer unique optical and SAR products

Fri, 20/10/2017 - 15:33

The collaboration will allow observation of the Earth day and night, regardless of weather conditions, and is intended to provide a constant asset monitoring service resulting from the specific characteristics of the COSMO-SkyMed SAR constellation and the Deimos-1 and Deimos-2 optical multispectral sensors.

The combination of high-resolution radar data with medium and very-high resolution optical imagery is expected to provide customers with an exceptional level of decision making insights, and to create a unique and valuable benefit for users in a diverse group of sectors including emergency services and the oil and gas industry, among others.
The data acquired by the different satellites, will be jointly marketed and distributed to the end user, enabling the provision of seamless products and services.

Both e-GEOS and Deimos Imaging are leading sources of information solutions for the emergency response sector. The current space assets of UrtheCast and e-GEOS include the Deimos-1 and Deimos-2 optical multispectral sensors and the COSMO-SkyMed constellation of the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Ministry of Defence, consisting of four radar satellites. These assets are significant contributors to the European Commission’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service, where e-GEOS leads the Rapid Mapping Team for the operations providing mapping products based on satellite imagery for disaster risk reduction and emergency response. In addition, both Deimos Imaging and e-GEOS have extensive satellite imagery and production capabilities operating 24/7.

“We are very glad to be partnering with UrtheCast because this collaboration supports and empowers our data strategy to become a hub for all geospatial data, both optical and SAR to serve reliable monitoring capabilities and to feed our multi-sensor application platforms. This agreement confirms the importance to establish strong and valuable partnerships with key players to provide the best services to our customers”, said Massimo Claudio Comparini, CEO of e-GEOS.

“We see that highly derived products are significantly broadening the utility of Earth Observation data as near-real time efficient tools for decision makers. By partnering with e-GEOS, we are delighted to significantly accelerate decision making in a wide range of fields”, said Fabrizio Pirondini, CEO at UrtheCast’s subsidiary Deimos imaging. “This joint service is a precursor to our upcoming OptiSAR™ constellation, the world’s first fully-integrated constellation of sixteen multispectral optical and SAR satellites, which is expected to revolutionize the way we observe and map the Earth.”

Spacemetric and Simularity demonstrate automated anomaly detection on satellite and UAS imagery

Fri, 20/10/2017 - 14:05

Based on the Keystone technology, Spacemetric applied rigorous photogrammetric techniques on sequences of satellite and UAS image data. This approach ensured best possible relative alignment of image pixels, thus eliminating spurious noise and false signals in subsequent anomaly detection. A short video illustrating this process is available here. A full report with case studies is available upon request.

Spacemetric and Simularity jointly offer a solution to local government, municipalities, and private companies to monitor their properties, rapidly detect change, and benefit by generating revenue, saving costs, and monitoring compliancy issues before they happen.

To request a free copy of the complete case study report, please leave a message with your contact details on the contact section of Spacemetrics website.

EARSC is Professional Society Partner at GWF2018

Thu, 19/10/2017 - 11:51

Geospatial World Forum 2018 will establish the connection between geospatial technology and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), a technology revolution, which will transform the way the world functions. The event will transport you to the era of 4IR through informative sessions and stimulating discussions. The platform will also host four crucial events – GeoBuiz Summit, Location World, Geo4SDGs, and AI & IOT Summit.

Geoff Sawyer, EARSC Secretary general, will participate to the conference.

More information coming soon!

GWF2018 Website

EuroGEOSS: Tailoring Earth Observation services to Europe's needs

Wed, 18/10/2017 - 16:52

EuroGEOSS is a new regional initiative in the GEO Work Programme 2017-2019. It is the European component of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) with a focus on coordination and scaling up user-driven applications being developed in Europe.

EuroGEOSS is supported by the GEO European countries and participating organisations and the European Commission.

This initiative aims to improve user uptake of Earth Observation data and improve forecasting capabilities for sound decision-making by governments for Europe’s benefit.

EuroGEOSS will coordinate, combine and seek cooperation and synergies within existing European Earth Observation assets and initiatives, with Copernicus as a major element and the focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and GEO’s Societal Benefit Areas.

Government decision makers on all levels, researchers/scientists, private-sector companies and citizens will benefit from EuroGEOSS.

Download EuroGEOSS launch event draft agenda

ESA takes the rains of the Disasters Charter

Tue, 17/10/2017 - 17:41

Every six months, a different member takes the role of Primus Inter Pares – or Charter lead. Last week, ESA took over this role for the sixth time, and is responsible for ensuring that the Charter’s policies and rules are respected.

ESA will also develop new partnerships with the space and the disaster risk-reduction communities.

“ESA plans to ensure that not only the operational activities of the Charter are running smoothly but will also prepare for future challenges,” said Maurice Borgeaud, head of ESA’s Earth Observation Science, Applications and Climate Department.

“Future challenges include the likely increase of the calls on the Charter, international collaboration with key partners running similar activities, and taking advantage of the ever-increasing availability of Earth observation data.”

Founded by ESA and the French and Canadian space agencies, the Charter is an international collaboration between 16 owners or operators of Earth observation missions. It provides rapid access to satellite data to help disaster management authorities in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

The value of the initiative lies in being able to mobilise agencies around the world and benefit from their knowhow and their satellites through a single access point that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and at no cost to the user.

Since its first request for support, in 2000, the Charter has called on space assets on many occasions, helping to respond to more than 520 disasters in more than 120 countries.

Recent activations have included Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which hit the United States and Caribbean in September, as well as the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck central Mexico on 19 September.

On average, the Charter is activated about 40 times a year. But this year has been particularly busy, already exceeding that average. In August and September alone, there have been 16 activations – twice the monthly average.


EARSC at the GEO week (23-27 October Washington D.C)

Tue, 17/10/2017 - 13:42

It will comprise side events starting Monday, 23 October, an exhibition opening on Tuesday, 24 October and running through Thursday, 26 October, the ExCom on Friday and the plenary itself from 25 to 26 October 2017 in Washington D.C. EARSC as GEO Participation Organization has been invited to bring delegates to the Plenary, but will also be present at the Exhibition area and co-organizing with NOOA a side event to foster discussion, develop and expose case studies to demonstrate the value to society coming from the use of EO data.

More info GEO-XIV

Monday, 23rd Tuesday, 24th Wednesday, 25th Thursday, 26th Friday, 27th EARSC: Exhibition Stand (E.C. booth (#209) - Panels 13/14) EARSC: Exhibition Stand (E.C. booth (#209) - Panels 13/14) EARSC: Exhibition Stand (E.C. booth (#209) - Panels 13/14) [09h00-16h30] Geoff Sawyer: GEO Side Event” Demonstrating the Value of Earth Observations: Methods, Practical Applications, & Solutions“  [08h30-12h30] Mónica Miguel-Lago: SDGs “Earth Observations in Service of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” EARSC delegation: GEO-XIV Plenary Session
EARSC delegation: GEO-XIV Plenary Session Massimo Comparini (EARSC Director) & Geoff Sawyer: 42nd Executive Committee meeting Geoff Sawyer: 41st Executive Committee meeting [09h00-16h00] Geoff Sawyer: GEO Side Event Workshop “Demonstrating the Value of Earth Observations: Methods, Practical Applications, & Solutions“  EARSC delegation: GEO-XIV Plenary Session
EARSC delegation: GEO-XIV Plenary Session Mónica Miguel-Lago: eo4sdg meeting [13h00-15h00] Mónica Miguel-Lago: “From Data to Decisions to Impact—New Practices in Capacity Building for Earth Observations” EARSC delegation: GEO-XIV Plenary Session
EARSC delegation: GEO-XIV Plenary Session [13h45-15h30] EARSC: GEO-XIV – Session 3 “Earth Observations in the Commercial Sector” EARSC delegation: GEO-XIV Plenary Session EARSC delegation: GEO-XIV Plenary Session

Earth-i’s satellite imagery chosen to monitor tree logging in Canada

Mon, 16/10/2017 - 13:29

Saskatchewan, Canada. Image © Earth-i Ltd, Data ©21AT 2017, distribution 21AT, all rights reserved

Earth-i will be supplying high-resolution images that will enable the Ministry to prevent illegal logging – and ensure sustainability and compliance.

Canada is the world’s largest exporter of softwood lumber. Its forests account for 9% of the world’s forest cover and 40% of the world’s sustainably managed forests.

To help protect its commercial forests from over-harvesting, Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment has been using satellite images for several years. Following a competitive tender that attracted Earth Observation imagery providers from around the world, Earth-i was chosen as its high-resolution images will give The Ministry greater clarity of the situation on the ground.

Earth-i will use the DMC3 Constellation to provide images of areas of interest over Saskatchewan. The Constellation consists of three identical optical satellites in near-polar orbit, offering very high resolution (80cm detail pixels) and 3.2 metre four band multispectral data for any location on Earth.

The detail that DMC3 images provide could enable every individual tree to be counted and the multispectral data can be used to monitor their health and size.

Paul Majmader, Earth-i’s Commercial Director, said: “We will be providing the Ministry with the highest quality images available on the market today. As well as helping them to monitor the forests, we have a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the value of our data to the Canadian market.”

Earth-i already has a wide range of customers across the world including The World Bank, National and Local Governments and a multitude of specialist geospatial companies and other commercial organisations. In Australia, it is providing wide area mapping services to the Government of Queensland.

About EARTH-i
Earth-i currently provides satellite imagery and various analytical services from the DMC3/TripleSat constellation and KOMPSAT series of satellites. In 2019 Earth-i will launch the first large-scale Earth Observation constellation in Europe to offer full colour video as well as still imagery.

Earth-i is headquartered in the Surrey Research Park in the UK near to a number of other UK space-related companies including SSTL – as well as the Space Centre at the University of Surrey.

ESA launches Sentinel-5P to track pollution daily

Sat, 14/10/2017 - 05:23

The satellite is the part of the EU’s Copernicus Earth observation programme, and will contribute to daily forecasts of air quality, track where greenhouse gases are being released in unprecedented detail, and verify if the planet’s ozone layer is recovering after being damaged by CFCs in the 20th Century.

There’s only one instrument on board, called Tropomi, developed by scientists in the Netherlands.

“You have one satellite instrument measuring the complete globe – it means that you have one calibrated instrument measuring everywhere – it means that you can compare the pollution levels in Europe directly with those in China and United States,” says Pieternel Levelt, principal investigator for Tropomi and head of Satellite R&D at Dutch national weather service KNMI.

Sentinel-5P will fly on a polar orbit, circling the globe 40 times a day, scanning a swath 2,600 kilometres wide, with each pixel of representing 3.5 by 7 kilometres. That level of precision means the scientists and climate monitoring teams will be able to distinguish the difference between pollution from sources which are located quite close together, for example the port of Rotterdam and the city. They also hope to gain a better understanding of how pollution from some regions and cities travels with weather systems to other parts of the world – for example how pollution from the US reaches across to Ireland, or how pollution from the UK reaches Scandinavia.

Sentinel-5P will also contribute to better pollution forecasts for us Earthlings. Air pollution isn’t just a nuisance, it’s a killer – the WHO reported that 3.7 million people died in 2012 from conditions related to outdoor air pollution. The satellite will be looking for some of the key nasties like nitrogen dioxide, low level ozone, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, all of which can be very harmful to humans. These gases are commonly produced by fossil fuels burned by vehicles and industrial processes, but also volcanic emissions.

A key question Sentinel-5P should answer is the state of the high-altitude ozone layer, a protective band of gas that allows life on Earth to thrive by absorbing harmful radiation from space. The ozone layer was damaged by mankind’s emission of CFC gases, but these were banned from January 1989 following the UN’s Montreal Protocol. However, there is still a ‘hole’ in the ozone layer above the South Pole between September and October, and globally there is still thought to be a lower level of ozone than in the 1960s.

Pieternel Levelt told Euronews how important this mission is for ozone monitoring: “The ozone layer is often looked at as something which is solved. We understand the chemistry, we understand the dynamics, we know how to improve, to get the ozone back, basically, by reducing the cooling agents (CFCs). But of course it’s important to measure it, to prove that that your measures work, and we don’t expect a complete recovery before 2050, 2060, so we need these measurements to know that the ozone layer is there, because it’s a pre-requisite for life on Earth- without the ozone layer we cannot live here.”

Sentinel-5P joins the other Sentinel satellites already in orbit, representing the space component of Copernicus, the world’s most ambitious Earth observation programme, overseen by the European Commission. Already in space are Sentinels 1 to 4. Sentinel-1A and 1B will providing all day and all night radar images, which are very useful for monitoring events like flooding; Sentinel-2A and 2B deliver high-resolution optical images of land use;
Sentinel-3A, launched on 16 February 2016, provides data for services relevant to the ocean and land; and Sentinel-4 is measuring trace gases and aerosols from a more distant geostationary orbit.

Upcoming soon is Sentinel-6, which follows on the sea surface height measurements taken by the Jason series of satellites, the missions which have been vital to quantifying global sea level height for climate studies.


Monitoring the Oceans from Space

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 18:53

Why join the course?

This free online course will provide an introduction to ocean monitoring Earth Observation (EO) satellite data, and its uses, types and challenges. It will explain how the data is acquired and used, the range of data types available, and the terminology and techniques involved.

The course is presented by physicist, oceanographer and broadcaster Dr Helen Czerski from University College London, remote sensing specialist Dr Hayley Evers-King from the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and the lead educator Dr Mark Higgins from EUMETSAT.

The course is run by EUMETSAT in support of the Copernicus Programme.

Explore ocean monitoring EO data using real-world examples

You will look at practical examples of using ocean monitoring EO data – in real-world case-studies and in a range of areas of policy and decision-making – and will explore emerging technologies and trends.

The course will introduce you to the operational marine data stream from EUMETSAT in the context of the ‘Copernicus’ programme. It will highlight the role of the Sentinel-3, Sentinel-6 and Jason-3 ocean monitoring satellites and the contributing missions providing marine data for Copernicus – such as Metop and Meteosat. You will also explore the role of the Copernicus Marine Environment Service (CMEMS), focussing on the applications of its data for users and its wider benefits to society.

Examine different areas of ocean monitoring week by week

The course consists of five themed weeks:

  • Week 1 – Oceans and Climate: How do the oceans play a key role in the Earth’s climate system? How are the oceans set to be affected by changes in climate and why is satellite data so valuable for addressing multiple challenges in the marine environment?
  • Weeks 2 & 3 – Oceans, Weather and Hazards: What role do our oceans play in weather forecasting? How does monitoring our oceans from space play a key role in this and how is satellite data used in weather models? How can we use satellite data to understand ocean hazards?
  • Week 4 – Living Oceans: How do satellites help to monitor, quantify and preserve ocean biodiversity?
  • Week 5 – Oceans and Us: How does Earth observation help us to set international policy, manage ocean resources and biodiversity? How can the oceans be used for renewable energy? How can the public get involved in ocean science?

Learn with ocean monitoring experts from EUMETSAT and major research centres

Throughout the course, you will learn with experts from EUMETSAT – one of the key global organisations involved in ocean monitoring using satellite data – and from its research partners including Plymouth Marine Laboratory, National Oceanography Centre, CLS, Mercator Ocean, and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

(Animations, data visualisations and imagery from ESA, NASA and CMEMS are provided courtesy of ESA, NASA and CMEMS. This course is produced for EUMETSAT by Imperative Space).


High-resolution map classifying land cover types in Africa

Thu, 05/10/2017 - 11:00


The map was created using a year’s worth of data from the Sentinel-2A satellite.

At a resolution of 20 m per pixel, you can now explore African’s diverse landscapes from grasslands to croplands, water bodies to deserts.

Land-cover mapping breaks down the different types of material on Earth’s surface. This information is important for understanding changes in land use, modelling climate change extent and impacts, conserving biodiversity and managing natural resources.

The map released this week comprises 180 000 Sentinel-2A images representing 90 terabytes captured between December 2015 and December 2016. Considering the size of the map – about six gigabytes – a web interface was developed to visualise the data.

The map was developed under ESA’s Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Land Cover project, and users are invited to provide their feedback on the new map through an online form.

“The prototype high-resolution land cover map at 20m over Africa is an impressive demonstration of the Sentinel-2A data availability and of the present capabilities for the processing of such huge volumes of data,” said Frédéric Achard from the Joint Research Centre.

“The community dealing with land resources in Africa will surely look forward with great interest to this prototype and to its future development.”

ESA has been coordinating global land cover maps since 2002 through its GlobCover and CCI Land Cover projects at a resolution of 300 m. While the latest map of Africa is based on observations from one of the twin Sentinel-2 satellites, the launch of Sentinel-2B in March has put the possibility of a global map at 10 m within reach.

The pair of Sentinel-2 satellites offer ‘colour vision’ for Europe’s Copernicus programme. They each carry a multispectral imager with 13 spectral bands that can be used for agricultural and forestry practices and for helping manage food security. Satellite images can be used to determine various plant indices such as leaf area chlorophyll and water content.

Source ESA

EUMETSAT - ECMWF - Mercator Océan DIAS Information Day

Wed, 04/10/2017 - 18:12

EUMETSAT, together with the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring (CAMS) and Climate Change Monitoring (C3S) Services operated by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and with the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS), operated by Mercator Océan, will hold an information day for European industry, representatives of other Copernicus service providers and future users on their upcoming Copernicus Data and Information Access Services (DIAS) platform, at its Darmstadt headquarters on 10 November.

The DIAS platform will be one of the functional elements of the Copernicus Integrated Ground Segment, funded by the EU.

The aim of the information day is to provide attendees with information about how EUMETSAT, ECMWF and Mercator Océan will design their DIAS and to explain its development and its implementation logic.

The targeted audience are entities interested in cooperating with or using the DIAS, i.e. from other Copernicus services, from entities interested in making their data accessible through or processed on the DIAS or from industry.

We will present the planned approach to procurements, including the tentative schedule for the release of invitations to tender after their approval by the EC. We will also provide information on the functionalities foreseen in the DIAS. There will also be ample time for questions and feedback.

For those interested in attending the information day, please click here to register

Registration will close on 31 October 2017.

Attendance will be limited to 200 persons, and confirmation will be sent on a first come, first served basis.

The agenda of the Information Day will follow soon here

Meteorological Technology World Expo 2017

Wed, 04/10/2017 - 11:16

Now in its seventh year, this truly global exhibition attracts around 200 exhibiting companies and 4,000 attendees from over 100 countries.

Meteorological Technology World Expo is a truly international exhibition of the very latest climate, weather and hydrometeorological forecasting, measurement and analysis technologies and service providers for a global community of key decision makers within the aviation industry, shipping companies, marine/port installations, airports, military operations, off-shore exploration companies, wind farm operators, met offices, agriculture operations and research institutes.

Meteorological Technology World Expo is organised by the publishers of Meteorological Technology International magazine, the world’s only publication dedicated to weather, climate and hydrometeorological prediction, measurement and forecasting instruments and services. In effect, the World Expo brings the pages of the magazine to life.

If you are looking for new measurement, forecasting and analysis technologies, weather or research service providers, or simply to meet up with your established suppliers in one convenient location, Meteorological Technology World Expo is the place to be.


Technology Showcase organized by CEOI and Satellite Applications Catapult

Tue, 03/10/2017 - 14:19

CEOI and the Satellite Applications Catapult are delighted to announce key note speakers from the European Space Agency and from Earth-i, who will give an overview of the rapidly emerging landscape of satellite constellations.

These constellations are particularly interesting in the Earth Observation (EO) field as they are powered by highly innovative technologies and are enabling a wide range of new products, services, and applications.

The European Space Agency will talk about the European Copernicus constellation which is providing new data and services to governments, industry and a wide range of other organisations.

Earth-i will cover the rapidly emerging small satellite constellations and how they are transforming both the space sector and the services offered by wider industries and

The Earth Observation Showcase will give you a unique overview of the changing EO
landscape from both an upstream and a downstream perspective. It will discuss current /
future technologies and applications, consider market trends, and discuss how these might
evolve by 2030.

If you are interested, further details, agenda and registration are available at the link- gallery/events/earth-observation- showcase-emerging-
applications-powered- innovative-technologies/.

Making satellite technologies work for sustainable development

Tue, 03/10/2017 - 10:31

Smartphone owners have come to appreciate the ubiquity of weather forecasting. Our phones come with pre-installed weather applications that allow us to access data captured from outer space, which are then analyzed and processed in real time. The potential uses of such readily available information for business, public services, and personal use are endless.

These same satellite technologies can support sustainable development by providing us with much-needed data on upcoming rainfalls and temperature variations, as well as land degradation, illegal resource extraction, epidemiology, or crop yields, among other areas. This knowledge also helps development actors and governments make informed decisions about policies and programming and use their resources more efficiently. Meanwhile, satellite-based telecommunications can assist emergency teams during disaster response, and help track access to health and education facilities.

“In the private sector, these technologies have been deeply embraced, and they changed the nature and structure of private sector organizations … similar changes are coming to the development sector.”
— Andrew Zolli, vice president for global impact at Planet

Recent catastrophes — including hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, heavy monsoon rains in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, and a landslide in Sierra Leone — are poignant reminders that natural disasters and other extreme weather events are on the rise. Reaching the objectives outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction will be essential to mitigate the impact of those events. This, in turn, will require the global development and humanitarian aid communities to form efficient partnerships with space agencies and satellite operators, as well as advocating for more equitable data sharing practices between countries.

The potential impact of using satellite communications for development and aid purposes — and the role of development professionals in bringing the technology to those who need it the most — is great.

“This is going to change how NGOs and other development actors do their job, in the same way that the mobile phone changed the way [private sector] actors do their jobs,” Andrew Zolli, vice president for global impact at Planet, a commercial operator of Earth observation satellites, told Devex. “It gave them new capabilities … new ways of fulfilling their mission.”

Satellite technology and the SDGs

The information collected and transmitted by satellites can be used to reach and monitor progress toward every one of the SDGs.

“Earth observation and geospatial information will help measure and monitor a goal, but it’s really when you drill down to either the target or the indicator level [that] you can bring some specific products into view,” said Barbara J. Ryan, secretariat director of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations.

Satellite technologies can help monitor the effects of climate change, improve natural resource management, and help prevent threats to biodiversity. The Forest 2020 project, funded in part by the U.K. Space Agency, uses Earth observation data to protect and restore up to 300 million hectares of tropical forests around the globe. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, through its Locust Control Unit, has been using data provided by Google Earth Engine to improve its forecasts of desert locust invasions. And the TIGER initiative, spearheaded by the European Space Agency and UNESCO, uses Earth observations to improve water resource management in Africa.

Geospatial data have multiple applications for emergency response and disaster preparedness, too. Images are updated regularly, making it possible to follow the evolution of natural disasters and their impact on affected populations in real time, thereby improving the predictability of these events, as well as supporting disaster response and recovery efforts.

In 2015, for example, the European Space Agency supported the development of B-LIFE, a mobile laboratory that was deployed at an Ebola treatment center in a remote part of Guinea. Satellite images were also used to generate maps with epidemiological data to monitor the spread of the virus.

Understanding Earth observation

Earth observation generally refers to the gathering of data on the Earth’s oceans, land surface, biosphere, and atmosphere through remote sensing technologies including in situ tools such as seismometers or ocean buoys, airborne observations such as aerial photography and radars, or satellites. In some cases, the term refers exclusively to satellite-based remote sensing.

The International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, a consortium of space agencies, provides support to relief efforts during emergencies. When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in 2013, more than 1,000 high-resolution images were made available to help with the assessment of damages to infrastructure and the planning of resource deployment after the international charter was activated.

Satellite communications

Earth observation constitutes only a fraction of what satellite technology can bring to aid and development efforts. Satellite-based technology can dramatically improve communications and data-sharing capabilities in critical situations when phone and internet lines are cut off, or in places that are deprived of telecommunications infrastructure.

Commercial satellite operator Inmarsat is now working with the federal government of the Philippines, as well as regional governments, local communities, and research institutions to improve disaster response. As part of the U.K. Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme, which co-funds U.K.-based operators tackling environmental and social challenges in developing countries, Inmarsat will deploy satellite communications equipment in pilot regions that will help maintain communication channels should an earthquake or another natural disaster strike.

“We take digital as a given, but that’s just simply not the case for many people in many parts of the world,” said James Cemmell, Inmarsat’s vice president of government engagement. “In the fourth industrial revolution — where we’re talking about big data, artificial intelligence, [and] machine learning — getting that data out is essential … and satellite communications has an essential role in several of those different domains.”

In some instances, satellite communications could bring basic services to underserved populations, for instance through eHealth and eLearning. In Nigeria, Inmarsat is leading another project funded in part by the UKSA’s IPP, working with research institutions and federal and state health ministries to strengthen health systems in remote areas. The new satellite-based system will enable video-based training for local staff, disease surveillance capabilities, and data collection.

And in Indonesia, the company is helping improve the management of the fishing industry, which has faced criticism for its role in the depletion of fish stock and for its unethical labor practices. By equipping fishing vessels with satellite-based communication tools, the government will be better able to collect the data necessary to reduce illegal and unsustainable fishing, while reducing the risks at sea for fishers, Cemell explained.

Improving collaboration

Satellite technologies are spurring new types of collaborations between stakeholders who may not be familiar with each other, including space agencies, satellite operators, government ministries, research institutions, and development organizations.

“They’re very distinct communities,” GEO’s Ryan explained. “The scientific and technology communities … don’t generally know about the SDG process, and many people involved in the SDG process don’t really know about Earth observation and geospatial data, so we have a key role to play in bridging those gaps.”

Some countries have historically focused on producing data for themselves, without seeing the value of collaborating on a global level, Ryan said. But that is changing.

“We’re seeing more data from China, India … [and] Japan. Parts of the world that haven’t historically shared data are now contributing, making their data more visible to us and then therefore to the world,” she added.

Other more targeted initiatives are taking root. UN-Water, which coordinates the U.N.’s work on water and sanitation issues, has launched the Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 (universal access to water and sanitation), with the aim of linking data providers — including NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency — with U.N. agencies working toward SDG 6-related targets.

In the humanitarian sector, leading private satellite operators, together with the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster, have signed the Crisis Connectivity Charter, which sets up protocols that enable humanitarian organizations to access satellite communications during emergencies.

Private sector organizations can provide key operational capabilities and expertise. The FAO has entered into a strategic partnership with Google, following work with Google Earth Engine and Google Earth Outreach — the company’s tool for public benefit organizations and nonprofits — for the analysis and dissemination of geospatial data related to forestry, land cover, and land use.

Bridging the data gap

With only a small number of countries having the capacity to launch their own satellites, access to data is unequal around the world. However, free and open data policies are becoming more widespread. While the data released by NASA’s Earth observation satellites are already being shared publicly, the European Commission’s Copernicus program has adopted an open data policy for its Earth observation Sentinel satellites.

A data gap also exists between countries when it comes to analyzing, processing, and using the data released by satellites as part of their own efforts to reach the SDGs.

“The amount of data and the quality of the data is so huge now that, to be able to analyze it, you need to have a capacity that not everyone has,” said Danilo Mollicone, land and climate officer at the FAO. Through the U.N. Platform for Disaster Management and Emergency Response, the U.N. Office for Outer Space Affairs has been supporting capacity building activities with local governments and institutions. Next year’s UNISPACE+50 conference will be dedicated to building a Space2030 agenda in order to better coordinate activities around the use of space technologies for development purposes.

The future of development?

As the cost of manufacturing and launching satellites into space decreases, and as the quality of the imagery and data improves, the number of projects linking satellite technologies with development will grow dramatically, Zolli said. “There is a revolution underway right now to make these technologies as useful as absolutely possible,” he explained.

Decreased costs mean that private satellite operators now have more incentives to develop products for markets that were previously seen as not profitable enough. Planet, whose fleet of 144 miniature satellites produces high-resolution images of the entire surface of Earth every day, has initiated several projects that tackle development challenges, among them a collaboration with researchers at Stanford University to train an algorithm that will predict crop yields months in advance. Planet wants to make that information available to smallholder farmers in rural Kenya and Nigeria, which could in turn enable them to access a broader range of financial services, Zolli said.

He also expects satellite operators to make their data easier to search and analyze, therefore requiring less technical expertise on the part of users. NGOs could one day look up satellite data as easily as using the Google search bar, he explained.

Ultimately, satellite technologies will permeate development and humanitarian work in ways that, at this point in time, remain difficult to envision.

“In the private sector, these technologies have been deeply embraced, and they changed the nature and structure of private sector organizations … I think similar changes are coming to the development sector,” Zolli said. “We want to encourage [development organizations] to think and dream boldly. Very big things are coming.”


farmAR: Helping farmers making sustainable decisions based on satellite data

Tue, 03/10/2017 - 01:04

Making the invisible visible with a mobile app

The aim of farmAR is to bring information about land and crops directly to the farmer’s mobile phone. The application uses Copernicus data and sends the processed satellite data to the app users. Farmers can thus be aware of all the relevant information in the field that is normally invisible to the human eye. This leads to quicker and more efficient decision-making by farmers. On site, they can directly decide about the next work steps and save time and money by reducing unnecessary chemical usage. As a further positive side effect, plants become healthier and the soil becomes richer.

Beril’s experience in satellite data processing, cloud computing, visualisation, mobile app development and augmented and virtual reality gave her the opportunity to create this service. As one of the top 40 Copernicus Masters entrants in 2016, Beril gained access to the first edition of the Copernicus Accelerator, a unique coaching programme initiated by the European Commission. With her mentor Martijn Leinweber, Community Manager of ESA BIC Noordwijk, the idea of such an app became more concrete. Shortly after the start of the coaching service made available through the acceleration programme, Linda van Duivenbode joined the team and currently contributes to the continuous progress of the project with more than 20 years of experience in business development, project management, market research and innovation management.

Beril and Linda now work closely together on turning the idea of farmAR into reality. Their current focus is to test the full framework with selected potato growers and to bring the app service into line with the Copernicus services, in order to have the framework functioning fully automatic. The team’s next goal will be the application for the incubation programme at one of the ESA Business Incubation Centres (BICs) in order to continue with the creation of a start-up and get the app ready for market entry.

Interested in the benefits of farmAR?

The official app will be provided for free. Users will be able to receive their up-to-date satellite-derived results after subscribing to the farmAR database. If you would like to test the app before public release, please visit its official website to contact the team.

Words from the Copernicus Accelerator mentor:

Last year in November, I met Beril for the first time at the boot camp in Madrid. Beril told me about her idea to help farmers with an augmented reality solution. Nowadays, we face challenges worldwide due to the growing population, and improvements in the quality and quantity of food are one of the most important topics. There is a great deal of potential in EO data for agricultural applications. Beril’s idea could be one solution that offers considerable business potential as well.

Together, we decided on the actions that needed to be undertaken to verify whether her application provides real added value to farmers. First, Beril had to find a co-founder and find an existing agricultural problem worth addressing with her solution. The next objective was to find interested customers, i.e. farmers who are willing to test and use the farmAR application. The last few months proved that Beril is on the right track, as her team completely succeeded in that.

The journey of supporting the team has been an incredible experience for me. It is great to see how Beril is growing as an entrepreneur and that she and Linda are an excellent match. I am proud to see that the team has already gained recognition and valuable support from their network and that they found a farmer to test their product, who is immensely helpful to them in order to fine-tune the app for the first app release.

The team now is working hard on getting their proposal ready for the next selection round of ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Noordwijk in order to launch their business. And I would be more than happy to support them further.


Satellite Images show Europe's diversity in new book

Mon, 02/10/2017 - 18:39

The book titled Europa – Kontinent der Vielfalt (Europe, the diversity) tells the story of Europe using more than 100 current satellite images to display the present and highlight the past incorporating political, economic and social challenges that are facing the continent. From historical sights of significance that have lasted the span of time to current villages and cities where urbanisation and migration are clearly visible, the satellie images portray Europe in many differing aspects.

“European Space Imaging is the market leader of very high resolution imagery across Europe. We are delighted to be able to exclusively partner with EOVision on this project and supply imagery showcasing the diversity of Europe” said Managing Director, Adrian Zevenbergen.

The satellite images included within the book also identify the changing landscapes, natural and man-made, to be found in Europe. Due to the long history of the continent and comparatively dense populations, hardly untouched landscapes are acknowledged, however predominantly the continent is used extensively. Furthermore topics such as border controls, refugee migration, global warming and climate change are discussed.

“It was very important for us to include only the best satellite imagery of Europe available within this book. This is why we chose to partner with European Space Imaging. Not only is the quality of their imagery outstanding, but their flexibility and personalised customer service made the entire process very easy” commented eoVision editor Gerald Mansberger.

Europa – Kontinent der Vielfalt will be available from Sunday 15 October 2017 and can be purchased from www.eovision.at

The CAMS Use Cases programme: a financial instrument available for Copernicus entrepreneurs

Fri, 29/09/2017 - 18:53

There are numerous business cases that demonstrate the value that Copernicus brings to society and provide useful examples that help others to imagine how they in turn might use the data in their own line of work. One of the missions of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) is to demonstrate how Copernicus data can be applied to real-world challenges. Successful Copernicus business and application cases are excellent demonstration tools for showcasing how these challenges are being tackled using Copernicus data.

Last year, CAMS launched the ‘Use Cases programme’ designed to support, technically and financially, the launch of innovative applications using one or more CAMS information products. A first group of eight use cases was selected on the basis of two criteria: the quality of the submitted business case and the potential communication tool that these cases represent for illustrating the benefit of CAMS, and of the Copernicus programme in general. The contracts between the promoters of these use cases and CAMS are structured in two phases, a development phase of up to 6 months, and an exploitation/demonstration phase of up to 18 months. It is expected that an economically sustainable model will have been established by the end of the contract. The 2017 use cases are now entering the exploitation phase and some of the services provided are already being offered through smartphones apps and websites.

While this first generation of CAMS use cases are entering the second phase of their contract, a new public call has been just launched with the objective to award up to six additional contracts which will develop and demonstrate end-to-end applications based on CAMS products. The purpose, once again, is to stimulate innovative ideas and support the development of downstream applications. If you would like to bid for this call you need to submit your ideas by 8 November this year.


Major milestone reached in forest monitoring from space

Fri, 29/09/2017 - 15:33

Deforestation and forest degradation is the 2nd leading source of carbon emissions globally, and must be reduced significantly in order to meet global climate targets. Complete forest cover data is crucial for countries to be able to report on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in support of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Full and open forest data is now available for all countries as a result of the open data policies and collaboration of a variety of national space agencies and coordinating bodies. This advance in satellite coverage was coordinated by the Group on Earth Observations through its space arm, the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), and through its flagship Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI).

The satellite data underpinning this effort comes primarily from the United States Landsat series (USGS), and the European Union Copernicus Programme Sentinel-1 radar series and optical Sentinel-2 series (EU/ESA). Additional contributions are provided by Japan (JAXA), Brazil (INPE), China (CRESDA), France (CNES), Italy (ASI), Canada (CSA), and Germany (DLR). Further datasets are anticipated next year from the space agencies of the UK (NovaSAR mission) and Argentina (SAOCOM mission).

Global coverage of forests through this collaboration will continue from 2017 until at least 2030, allowing countries to confidently apply satellite data in their national forest monitoring and reporting systems.

For more information please contact the CEOS Space Data Coordination Group at sdcg-exec@lists.ceos.org


Joint project to tackle disaster from space

Tue, 26/09/2017 - 03:19

A recent United Nations Environment Assembly or UNEA report says 41% of all disasters caused by natural hazards over the past two decades have occurred in the Asia-Pacific region.

Scientists say the partnership between Data61, Australia’s leading data innovation group, and Radiant.Earth, an ‘earth imagery platform for impact’, will mean their existing resources, networks and facilities can be used in real-time modelling, machine learning and visualisation technologies. The aim is to give the global community more timely and better evidence-based understanding of global activity and the changes needed to address critical challenges.

Adrian Turner, CSIRO’s Data61 chief executive, said the partnership with Radiant.Earth was an example of how science and technology and cross-border partnerships could deliver benefit to the global community.

Anne Hale Miglarese, Radiant.Earth’s chief executive, said: “The world is awash in Earth observation data, but most of the low- and middle-income countries are still poorly mapped and served by geospatial technologies.

“Partnering with Data61 to drive open remote sensing science will help us serve this community better, including non-profits working in global development, as well as national and regional government entities.”

Data61 was officially formed in 2016 with a mission ‘to create Australia’s data-driven future’. Radiant.Earth was launched in August last year to provide open access to geospatial data, with analytical tools ‘for global development practitioners designed to improve decision-making, and to foster entrepreneurship worldwide’. It aims to be able to ‘illuminate the earth’, allowing everywhere to be ‘seen’.

The UNEA report, Rapidly Growing Middle Class Presents Challenges and Opportunities for the Environment and Health in Asia and the Pacific, says increasing unsustainable consumption patterns have led to worsening air pollution, water scarcity and waste generation and threaten human and environmental health.

“Increased demand for fossil fuels and natural resources – extensive agriculture, palm oil and rubber plantations, aquaculture and the illegal trade in wildlife – are causing environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. “The situation is exacerbated by adverse climate change effects and an increasing number of natural disasters, which are causing devastating human and financial losses in the region. Extreme climate events are projected to become the new normal.”

Informing decision-making

Miglarese said one planned activity will include hosting open data on Radiant.Earth’s platform and a demonstration of Data61’s mapping products and tools on that platform to “support mission critical programmes, primarily in the Asia-Pacific region”.

She said Radiant.Earth’s mission was to connect people worldwide to Earth imagery, geospatial data, tools and knowledge to meet the world’s most critical challenges.

Turner said Data61 has “world-leading expertise in applying data visualisation and geospatial tools to inform decision-making around smart cities and infrastructure, including mapping renewable energy systems or demographics in different locations to inform policy decision-making”.
“In addition, with our other technologies we can predict the behaviour and spread of bushfires and have worked with local emergency services organisations and government in Australia to plan for emergencies,” he said.

A combination of approaches, including Radiant.Earth’s extensive network, would be used to improve disaster resilience among disadvantaged communities in the Asia-Pacific region in the coming months, Turner said.


SPACEMETRIC awarded 1M$ contract extension with Armed Forces

Tue, 26/09/2017 - 03:08

“We’re very happy to see this evidence of the trust the Armed Forces puts in Spacemetric’s products and services”, says Bob Moll, Spacemetric’s Sales Manager. “Our solutions for the Swedish Armed Forces are rapid, efficient, and battle-proven. One third of the Tactical Air Reconnaissance missions in the 2011 operations over Libya were carried out by the Swedish Gripen aircraft supported by Keystone”, says Bob. “It’s no surprise that Keystone solutions are also attractive to other nations.”

Source spacemetric.com