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European Association of Remote Sensing Companies
Updated: 53 min 24 sec ago

Sentinel-1 Speeds up crop insurance payouts

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 10:58

The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is home to around 68 million people, of which almost a million are rice farmers. However, Tamil Nadu is facing the worst drought in 140 years, leading to the land being too dry for paddy fields, lost yield, widespread misery and unrest.

The Copernicus Sentinel-1 radar mission has been used to alleviate a little of the suffering by providing evidence of damaged land and failed crops so that the Agricultural Insurance Company of India can compensate farmers as quickly as possible. So far, more than 200 000 farmers have received payouts.

Malay Kumar Poddar, the company’s general manager, said, “Assessing damages based on remote-sensing technology is introducing much objectivity into the crop insurance programme.

“Beyond the area loss assessment, we are also keen to apply the technology to assess actual yields at the end of the season.”

Satellites carrying optical cameras can provide images of Earth’s surface only in daylight and in the absence of cloud, but the Sentinel-1 satellites carry radar which works regardless.

This makes it an ideal mission to use in tropical and subtropical regions, which are often cloudy.

Sentinel-1 radar imagery combined with rice-yield modelling is at the heart of the German–Swiss Remote-Sensing based Information and Insurance for Crops in Emerging Economies initiative (RIICE).
Start of rice cropping

Francesco Holecz, from sarmap, set up the service in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute, RIICE partners, Indian authorities and universities.

He said, “The reliable repetitiveness of the Sentinels, their short revisit intervals, the free, quick and easy access to the products and the high quality of the data have contributed a lot to the practicability of satellite-based rice monitoring systems.”

Gagandeep Singh Bedi, agricultural production commissioner and principle secretary to the government in Tamil Nadu added, “RIICE remote-sensing technology allows us to assess crop loss and damages in a more transparent and timely manner.

“It was particularly useful during the last cropping season to identify villages that had been hit by drought, and farmers benefited from the technology by getting claims in a record time.”

The research network is also working with partners in other countries to develop the method further.

For example, the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines are looking to use it to assess yields at the end of the season.

Sellaperumal Pazhanivelan, from the university, said, “We believe that this technology can help the state governments to obtain objective and transparent data on actual rice yields so that farmers affected by natural hazards can be identified quickly.”


UN-GGIM Welcomes Alignment of Strategic Framework with 2030 Agenda

Wed, 16/08/2017 - 12:50

In opening remarks to the seventh session of GGIM, Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, observed that the Committee’s agenda includes items that are “closely aligned” to the needs of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 SDGs. He noted that the broad and integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda requires innovative ways of tackling development challenges, and highlighted that the ways in which countries collect, process, and manage data need to undergo a similar revolution, to ensure the monitoring and evidence-based decision making for the SDGs.

Liu Zhenmin suggested GGIM can contribute to the creation of a new data ecosystem for sustainable development.

Zhenmin explained that this requires coordinated efforts at the global, regional and national level to strengthen countries’ geospatial information management and ensure countries’ coherence of statistics, geospatial information, earth observation, environmental, and big data. He added that, through developing norms, standards, guides, and capacity building for geospatial management, GGIM can contribute to the creation of a new data ecosystem for sustainable development, as integrated information systems will ensure that all countries will be able to measure and monitor the state of the people and planet, while informing the decisions of citizens and governments with timely data.

Mexico expressed concern about mobilizing budgetary and extra-budgetary resources for implementing the proposed GGIM Strategic Framework and possible expansion related to the 2030 Agenda. Belgium suggested using existing associations and organizational structures to implement the Framework.

GGIM Europe welcomed the proposed Framework and noted that it is exploring ways in which it can collaborate with the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) for its implementation. Japan and Spain recommended collaboration between the GGIM regional committees and the UN Regional Commissions on capacity building for developing countries to implement the Framework. The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the UN Economic Commission for the Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) also invited collaborations with the GGIM regional committees.

China, Japan and Singapore stressed the need to prioritize capacity building on geospatial information for developing countries in the Committee’s work. China added that all governments should make geospatial information the primary source of data for social and economic development.

The GGIM’s discussions on the SDGs follow the UN Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) adoption of Resolution E/RES/2016/27, on ‘Strengthening institutional arrangements on geospatial information management’ in July 2016. The Resolution recognizes that the Committee of Experts “is well placed” to assist Member States in implementing the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the small island developing States (SIDS) Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway. The Resolution notes the need for sustainable funding and support for the Committee’s operations related to the SDGs and encourages Member States to provide voluntary contributions and consider expert secondments to support the Committee’s activities. The Resolution also requests the UN Secretary-General to try to mobilize additional resources, including through trust funds and other sources.

Following the adoption of the Resolution, in December 2016, the Secretariat tabled the UN-GGIM ‘2017-2021 Strategic Framework’ (available as Annex to the Resolution) at the Expanded Bureau meeting, as an initial starting point for discussion towards a GGIM strategic plan. The framework is designed as an overarching global policy framework for the GGIM to communicate and reference the importance of integrating geospatial information into global development policies, and to contribute to national implementations of the 2030 Agenda. The Framework explicitly notes that the UN-GGIM is “anchored” by the 2030 Agenda and notes that the Committee will help with providing:

  • recommendations for sound national policies, legal frameworks and institutional arrangements;
  • fundamental authoritative data and information;
  • agreed standards, methods, guides, and frameworks;
  • principles on geospatial information and open data;
  • recommendations for the integration and interoperability of national information systems; information sharing and knowledge transfer; and
  • building global and local capability

The seventh session of the UN-GGIM convened from 2-4 August 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. GGIM Website ECOSOC Resolution:Strengthening institutional arrangements on geospatial information management


EOMALL ITT: Develop an on-line Marketplace for the EO Service sector

Wed, 16/08/2017 - 11:25

Please note that the ESA Invitation To Tender 9042 has been issued.

AO9042Title EOMALL
Open date 11/08/2017
Closing date 22/09/2017 13:00
Reference Nr. 17.155.12
Prog. Ref. EO-Science for Socie
Budget Ref. E/E105-E5 – EO-Science for Socie
Tender Type C
Price Range 200-500 KEURO
Products Satellites & Probes / Other
Technology Domains Others
Establishment ESRIN
Directorate Directorate of EO Programmes
Department Science, Applications & Climate Dep.
Division Data Applications Division
Responsible Frigot, Emma
Industrial Policy M. N/A
Last Update Date 11-08-2017, 18:13:22
Update Reason Tender issue

Please note that the ESA Invitation To Tender 9042 has been issued. Click on this link to access the Invitation To Tender on EMITS

Opportunities offered by the Copernicus data and services: The point of view of Visioterra

Mon, 07/08/2017 - 12:53

Copernicus is a booster for SMEs like ours, which is located at the confluence of Research and Applications. The wide range of free and open data currently produced and the expected future data, such as the atmospheric chemistry measurements that will soon be produced by Sentinel-5P, reinforce VisioTerra’s role for mediation, training and promotional activities. The availability of such a wealth of Copernicus data and services wealth calls for the reinforcement and increased backing of initiatives aiming to raise awareness and boost market development.

The challenge is to enable citizens, scientists and entrepreneurs to easily access this wide range of data in order to create new observations, identify congruences, build new models, and develop new services. That is why VisioTerra has developed a free-access client-server application called VtWeb enabling access to a wide variety of Earth Observation, meteorological, climate and more generally bio-geophysical data.

VtWeb’s hyperlook links for example allow our users to quickly estimate the extent of the fires that have recently affected the south of France. This is only possible thanks to the operational readiness and frequent revisit of the five Copernicus Sentinel satellites currently in orbit, which considerably increase the usefulness and attractiveness of such tools for the public as well as for professionals.

Another example of innovation and advancement of services due to Copernicus data are our projects in the Oil & Gas industry in the fields of exploration and environment. Before, we massively used radar data from precursor satellites such as ERS and Envisat. Now, we use Sentinel-1 to detect the “oil seepages” (natural hydrocarbon slicks from underground reservoirs, seen in fig. 1) or “oil spills” (most of which originated from platforms or tanker de-ballasting in fig. 2) on the sea surface.

fig. 1 – Sentinel-1 radar scene acquired on 26/03/2017 showing oil seepages offshore Peru (2D-view)

fig. 2 – Sentinel-1 radar scene acquired on 14/02/2017 showing a long oil spill (more than 37 km) released by a ship entering the Gibraltar strait (3D-view)

fig. 3 – Normalised frequency of observed oil slicks according to the radar acquisition mode (left panel) and the pixel spacing (right panel)

Free Copernicus Sentinel data have enabled us to successfully carry out several UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) projects. The figures below illustrate, for example:

  • An original “Vegetation Index (NDVI) difference” method computed from Sentinel-2 data to assess the loss of vegetation following Cyclone Matthew on Haiti (fig. 4),
  • A method for assessing the impact of torrential rains by measuring the area of sediment effluents seen by the OLCI instrument on board Sentinel-3 (fig. 5 ),
  • Use of Sentinel-1 radar data for land use monitoring along the Rio Quito River in Colombia and the environmental impact assessment following gold exploration along the river (fig. 6).

fig. 4 – NDVI computed from a Sentinel-2 synthesis before (upper left), after (upper right) Hurricane Matthew which occurred on 04.10.2016. The bottom image displays the difference, showing the vegetation loss

fig. 5 – Sentinel-3 OLCI acquired on 09/11/2016 showing the sedimentary effluents consecutive to heavy rain over Haiti

fig. 6 – Sentinel-1 IW scenes showing the fast expansion of human occupation along the Rio Quito River (Colombia)

The desire of the European Commission to maximise the use of Copernicus Sentinel data also opens new business opportunities. VisioTerra recognises and supports this very important mission, and is involved in several remote sensing and data processing training activities. For example, following an ESA request, we trained more than 50 participants at the opening of the AfriGEOSS Symposium in Sunyani, Ghana, in June 2017. The training focused on access and processing of Sentinel data including a presentation of the Copernicus programme and services. Additionally, initiatives aiming at raising awareness and boosting market development should be reinforcement and backed by the institutions, as it is the case with the Network of Copernicus Relays, the Copernicus Academy and the Copernicus Support Office.

This article was first published in Copernicus Oberserver

Precision farming via satellite imaging

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 15:09

Three customers are already using the first version of the ButterflEYE LS camera: in Denmark for biological diversity studies, in Australia for agricultural research, and in Italy for providing commercial data to farmers.
The experiences will be fed back into the final commercial version.

“Our first customers were really keen on getting the high resolution, which is the best you can currently get from a hyperspectral product,” notes René Michels, CEO of Germany’s airborne specialist Cubert, who collaborated with Belgium’s VITO Remote Sensing and imec for the camera development.

The camera exploits the potential of a novel hyperspectral imaging chip from imec by combining it with VITO’s image processing honed by working with ESA on remote sensing satellites. Weighing just 400g, the powerful camera fits easily on a small unmanned aircraft to deliver detailed measurements for precision agriculture but it has also potential in forestry, biomass monitoring, waste and pollution management.

Harnessing the power of colour
“Hyperspectral imaging captures many very narrow wavelength bands in the visible and near-infrared instead of the more typical three or four broad spectral bands: red, green, blue and, sometimes, infrared.”

Fireblight disease detection in pear orchards in St Truiden, Belgium, achieved by analysis based on RGB and hyperspectral data taken from a drone. Credit: VITO Remote Sensing

“By imaging the world in more colours, you can detect certain phenomena faster and more exactly,” explains Bavo Delauré from VITO Remote Sensing. “A camera that is more sensitive to subtle differences in colour allows you to identify problems that you can’t see with your naked eye or a normal camera until it’s too late to do anything about it.”

Historically, a prism has been used to separate the colours but this results in complex optics and larger cameras. Following VITO’s work on the Proba-V satellite, ESA’s Luca Maresi set the company a challenge of producing a lightweight hyperspectral camera based on a different technology.

The initial approach uses a variable filter in front of the detector, creating an instrument as compact as a standard colour camera and therefore suitable for use on small satellites and drones. One is used by Dutch Cosine Research in their HyperScout camera for the GomX-4B CubeSat, to be launched this year.

Space spin-off helps on Earth

To make the camera even more versatile and suitable for mass production, imec created an ultra-small sensor with the hyperspectral filter incorporated. Cubert used this filter-in-chip sensor in their new ButterflEYE LS camera.
Hyperspectral cameras produce huge amounts of data that have to be downloaded to VITO’s cloud computing environment to be processed to produce the required information, including action maps to help the customer.

“You need to know where in the colour spectrum to look in order to identify the changes you are seeking and derive the required information,” explains Bavo.

“In addition, drone-based imaging is, in some respects, more complicated because satellites fly in a smooth trajectory, whereas rotary and fixed wing systems are more sensitive to air movements and less stable than satellites,” adds René from Cubert. “It produces a huge amount of data that is complex to work with, and we could not have achieved this without VITO’s competence in image processing.”

Hyperspectral imagery of strawberry fields in St Truiden, Belgium. Credit: VITO Remote Sensing

Earth observation is more than just image processing

“Many people fly drones and think they can now do Earth observation, but it’s much more complicated than that,” points out Sam Waes from Belgian company Verhaert, part of ESA’s technology transfer programme network.

“VITO has detailed knowledge of how to extract information from hyperspectral data and had already developed a prototype camera. So we did some marketing feasibility studies with them to identify opportunities for taking this to market. The end result is very exciting. Now we have an extremely small and efficient camera for local agriculture observations from the reuse of space technology, a camera that can provide more detailed and exact measurements compared to what has been available until now.”

Further advances underway with ESA

The next step is to add standalone processing, which VITO and Cubert hope to do by the time the ButterflEYE LS moves to a fully commercial offering in 2018. Then the users can do the processing themselves, instead of now with the support from VITO.

A consortium involving VITO has already been working with ESA to optimise the software for satellites, with the result that the HyperScout instrument now has its own onboard processing.

“This is a big revolution in the way we operate satellites. Now we have a very tiny system that can deliver realtime information ready to use, for example on forest fires or natural disasters,” explains Luca Maresi.

Other planned developments include a much more sensitive chip – 12 megapixels instead of the current 2 megapixels – which is now being developed under an ESA contract by a VITO-led consortium.

GAF AG Signs Distribution Partnership with Planet

Tue, 01/08/2017 - 11:04

GAF customers in Germany, Europe and worldwide can now access Planet’s substantial portfolio of optical satellite data, as well as derived value-added products, through a new partnership. According to GAF’s CEO, Dr. Peter Volk, the generation of data and monitoring services offered by Planet perfectly complements the available sources and enables new services. Specifically, important domains like Defence, Security, Insurance and Agriculture will benefit from this unmatched imaging and data capacity made available by an experienced service provider like GAF.

With its current constellation of about 190 satellites, Planet can image the entire earth every day with 3-5 meters ground sampling distance (GSD) and offers RGB, RedEdge and NIR spectral bands. This constellation includes 7 SkySat satellites, which offer high resolution panchromatic and multispectral images at sub-1 meter GSD. Planet products Planet Monitoring and Planet Basemaps are available through GAF using the Planet Platform or via Planet API.

“Planet looks forward to continuing our successful and trusted partnership with GAF as one of the leading companies in the geospatial market in Europe” says Dr. Marcus Apel, Director Strategic Accounts at Planet. “This partnership with GAF ensures users have access to Planet’s latest data and products, and can leverage one of the largest Earth Observation archives currently available”.

Planet is an integrated aerospace and data analytics company that operates history’s largest fleet of Earth-imaging satellites, collecting a massive amount of information about our changing planet. Planet designs, builds and operates 190 satellites, and develops the online software and tools that serves data to users. Decision makers in business, government, and within organizations use Planet’s data to develop new technologies, drive revenue, power research, and solve our world’s toughest challenges.

Download the Press Release

The Romanian Forest Inspector in the spotlight

Tue, 01/08/2017 - 10:00

The Romanian Forest Inspector is a monitoring service, based on satellite imagery, acquired and processed by our company, and transferred to the general public use, through an IT platform, administered by an external company.

The service is a geographic information system that ingests Sentinel 1 radar imagery and optical satellite images from Sentinel 2 and Landsat. Support information is acquired from Open Street Map and Google platforms. Data availability is verified every two to five days and acquired once it meets the mandatory quality and cloud coverage criteria. Prior to any imagery analysis, in-house developed software performs all the necessary pre-processing steps like co-registration or atmospheric correction. Afterwards, the software compares pairs of images taken at 10 to 15 days interval over the same areas and identifies the changes in forest cover, which can indicate logging activities, wind damages, fires, etc.

These changes, that can be equalled to forest loss, do not necessarily represent illegal deforestation.

Forest loss can be caused by various natural and human induced processes loss: legal harvesting, wind damages, landslides, fires, flash floods, etc. In order to assess legal or illegal forest cuts, the satellite map is further populated with information coming from the governmental digital database and tracking system. This information includes:

  • permissions about who, what and where to cut – woodland project developments, exploitation licenses and other legal approvals for forest exploitation;
  • the truck license plate number;
  • the logging location.

The platform represents a part of SUMAL project (Woodland Vegetation Tracking System) and brings together citizen activism, technology and authorities. Due to its multi-level access features, both authorities and citizens can monitor the logging activities.

Back in 2014, in order to fight illegal cutting, the government at that time first established a mandatory digital tracking system for all the trucks transporting wood. This mobile application – initially known as The Forest Radar (Radarul Padurilor) – allows every citizen to verify the legitimacy of logging operations, based on the truck licence plate number, GPS data records and location registration. However, the system proved to be easily eluded through GPS fake loading points, and in 2016, in order to add an additional control, this mobile application was enforced with the online platform The Forest Inspector – solution based on satellite images.

The Commercial UAV Show: New Applications and Opportunities for UAVs

Thu, 27/07/2017 - 22:36

The Commercial UAV Show is two events: a world-class conference focused on the progression of the UAV industry; and, a technology exhibition showcasing the latest hardware and software innovations from the mega tech companies to the latest start-ups.

Highlights include:

  • NASA discussing ‘Developing an autonomous ATM system and defining the future of the drone industry
  • BP giving a snapshot view into how UAVs have revolutionised the oil industry
  • The UK Ministry of Defence giving insight into ‘Building the case for the safe use of UAS in international airspace
  • Analyse how to manage public and private airspace with Skyward.io, the Global UTM Association, NATS, BAE Systems, Airmap and the German Aerospace Centre
  • Other industry leaders including Cisco, SenseFly, Danish National Police, Insitu, Costain Group plc, UNICEF, Laing O’Rourke Infrastructure + so many more.

8 key reasons to attend:

#Hear from 75+ speakers from the UK, Malaysia, Canada, The United States, Germany, Ireland, India, Mongolia, France, Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, Belgium and more
#Be inspired by future orientated, high-end content from early adopters of UAVs and prolific end-users including DHL, Plowman Craven, BP, Serco UK, National Prisons Intelligence Coordination Centre, RNLI, Costain Group plc, Laing O’Rourke…

  1. Lockheed Martin, Yuneec, Insitu and many more share key observations as innovative manufacturers
  2. Enjoy fascinating case-studies, including Martin Jetpack on building and using the world’s largest unmanned UAV, and the UK Ministry of Defence on Safely using UAVs in national airspace
  3. Leave understanding the latest in regulation from The UK Department for Transport, the German Air Traffic Authority (DFS) and more
  4. Join a community and network with over 3500 attendees at the 4th annual show
  5. Experience a thriving exhibition floor with on-floor content, including theatres dedicated to Emergency Services, Mapping and GIS, UAV Innovation, and Data and Analytics
  6. Come away with the key takeaways of 50+ sessions ready to be implemented tomorrow

Full details at http://www.terrapinn.com/uav

Sinergise partners with Airbus Defence and Space

Tue, 25/07/2017 - 15:46

Pléiades Satellite Image – Andasol Solar Power Station, Spain © CNES 2014, distribution Airbus DS

Sinergise partnered with Airbus Defence and Space to provide Pléiades imagery, which will be available for purchase and distributed through Sentinel Hub services. We’ve already started with integrating new datasets into Sentinel Hub and we will keep you posted on the up-dates.

Pléiades satellite imagery is provided by two twin satellites, Pléiades 1A and Pléiades 1B, which are operating as a constellation in the same orbit. They are delivering very-high resolution optical data products and offering a daily revisit capability for the whole globe.

The Pleiades constellation is designed to obtain data in double-quick time. Its capability to acquire imagery in less than 24 hours presents a perfect source for usage in response to a crisis or natural disaster. You can use Pléiades products for regular monitoring, precision mapping and photointerpretation. By using the Airbus’ satellite tasking service the image acquisition time becomes faster and to access the new images takes less time (just a few hours in certain cases).

Pléiades 50-cm-resolution products are available at three processing levels, Primary, Projected and Ortho, in all spectral combinations. Continue reading for more information on spectral combinations and spectral bands.

Planet wins second NGA satellite-imagery contract

Mon, 24/07/2017 - 13:20

The one-year, $14 million contract follows a seven-month, $20 million pilot contract that began in September to assess ways San Francisco-based Planet’s “persistence and global coverage capabilities could most effectively support the NGA mission,” according to a July 19 agency statement.

NGA said none of the other companies it considered could offer an imagery subscription service with a high enough revisit rate on a global basis. NGA said the agency requires the ability to monitor changes across large geographic areas for humanitarian and intelligence missions.

“Monitoring sources that collect imagery at medium resolution (3-7 meters) at a cadence of weekly or better can satisfy the requirements of making assessments of certain [redacted] intelligence problems, including food security forecasting, [redacted] installation or infrastructure development, military preparedness [redacted] economic forecasting by measuring inventories, and other observations that can be made from analyzing changes over time. In addition, medium resolution monitoring sources improves NGA’s ability to maintain current shoreline data and assess whether foundation products require updating,” the agency said in an unclassified document released July 20.

Planet’s constellation of remote-sensing cubesats, called Doves, is currently the largest constellation in orbit. The NGA document described the constellation as 160 satellites with 120 active, but Planet spokesperson Trevor Hammond told SpaceNews July 20 that the operator’s current fleet numbers 190 satellites, 142 of which are actively imaging; the remaining 48 are still being integrated into the fleet after launching on a Soyuz rocket last week. Dove cubesats have an average resolution of 3.7 meters. The Planet fleet also includes seven larger SkySat satellites from its acquisition of Terra Bella and five RapidEye satellites from BlackBridge.

Planet has 23 operational ground stations to communicate with its constellation and receive collected imagery. A ground station completed in northern Canada earlier this year is facing protracted licensing delays, prompting the company to look elsewhere for other sites while awaiting an outcome.

Of Planet’s competitors for the NGA contract, only Vancouver-based UrtheCast is a satellite operator, and the company’s first UrtheDaily satellites won’t be in orbit until early 2019. The company currently leverages cameras on the International Space Station and two free-flyers gained through the acquisition of Elecnor Deimos in 2015.

NGA said that Orbital Insight, not being a satellite operator, was inherently “incapable of satisfying the requirement.” Hanover, Maryland-based Sky Hawk Drone Services provides imagery only for domestic monitoring activities, the agency said.

NGA said the second Planet contract gives the Defense Department and the Intelligence Community imagery from 25 regions of interest that include the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

“Our second contract with Planet demonstrates NGA’s continued pursuit of commercial [geospatial intelligence] GEOINT where it has demonstrated mission utility,” John Charles, NGA’s senior GEOINT authority for commercial imagery, said in a July 19 statement. “At the same time that Planet has continued to mature their capability to where they can now offer weekly global coverage, NGA and our many customers have been learning how to use it across our varied mission sets in numerous locations so we truly understand where we get the bang for our buck. Those lessons learned are reflected in the structure of this new contract.”

NGA’s mainstay imagery and geospatial solutions provider DigitalGlobe said at the time of the first Planet NGA contract that it had expected the agency to experiment with new small satellite resources.

“We see no impact whatsoever on our relationship with the NGA,” DigitalGlobe Chief Executive Jeffrey Tarr said in October. “Very different use case: We’re foundational and part of the core [NGA] mission.”

Nonetheless, DigitalGlobe is investing in small satellites of its own. Through a joint venture with Saudi Arabia-based Taqnia Space and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), DigitalGlobe is building a constellation of least six small satellites called Scout, with sub-meter resolution imaging capabilities for launch in 2019. The company is also planning a constellation called WorldView Legion starting in 2020 for which it has given few details other than saying it will reach revisit rates of up to 40 times a day. WorldView Legion replaces the WorldView-1, WorldView-2, and GeoEye-1 satellites, and will double the company’s 30-centimeter and multispectral imaging capacity. Space Systems Loral, a satellite manufacturing subsidiary of MDA Corp., which is buying DigitalGlobe, is building those satellites.

In the July 20 document, NGA said it expects more imagery providers like Planet to launch remote-sensing constellations over the next five years. The agency will reassess its commercial options as these new entrants come online “before entering subsequent acquisitions.”

The GEO-CRADLE Networking Platform is now on line!

Fri, 21/07/2017 - 14:20

The platform offers an intuitive interface whereby visitors can browse the stakeholder profiles using three mechanisms: the map filters; the “search by keyword” option; and the advanced search page.

The map offers three filters “Country”, “Organisation Name” and “Thematic Area” and displays the results on the map. The search by keyword mechanism offers a quick search using one or more keywords separated by a comma. The Advanced search page contains 10 filters regarding the main questions in the GEO-CRADLE Survey in combination with a search by keyword mechanism on the top of the page, to add any other word of interest. The user can also browse all profiles from the “Profiles” tab. The “User Manual” is offered to help visitors understand how to exploit the searching-tools offered on the platform. Improvements to the functionalities and content of the platform will continue in the months to come.

Discover the networking platform (http://geocradle.eu/platform/) and make the most of this opportunity to network with key stakeholders in the region!

Questions on Copernicus? Ask the Copernicus Support Office team!

Fri, 21/07/2017 - 13:37

The European Commission has launched the Copernicus Support Office to animate the Copernicus Academy and Copernicus Relays networks, two key instruments in the Copernicus User Uptake toolbox that is being developed. The Copernicus Relays act as multipliers in the promotion of Copernicus at local and regional scales. The Copernicus Academy is a network of universities and SMEs who work on increasing the skills of students and the work force in Copernicus-related fields. In their tasks, which they perform as volunteers, they get support from the Copernicus Support Office for promotional material and speakers for events. The Copernicus Support Office also caters to queries from potential users of Copernicus data and information, be they from citizens, entrepreneurs or from public administration.

In order to answer all these questions and many others, and to increase awareness of the many benefits of Copernicus, the European Commission has set up two networks to serve EU and non-EU citizens, academics and businesses: the Copernicus Relays and the Copernicus Academy. These networks aim to foster user uptake of Copernicus products for current and future users by boosting European industry and SMES in developing new business models based on Space-related technologies / applications. These two networks, recently put in place by the European Commission, are a ground-breaking tool for the market development of the Copernicus Programme across Europe, and have aroused interest from entities in all EU countries (and beyond).

In their roles as voluntary members of the networks, Relays and Academy members get support from the Copernicus Support Office, which was designed to act as a one-stop-shop for assisting stakeholders and citizens in order to ensure best practices are shared to the widest extent possible, awareness is increased while Copernicus gets a “local phone number”.

The Copernicus Support Office operates a helpdesk which is open to anyone interested in obtaining information about the programme. Questions are answered by a team of Copernicus experts or referred to the Copernicus Entrusted Entities or external experts on Copernicus.

When and how is it possible to contact the Support Office? EU and non-EU citizens, businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as academics and researchers from all over the world can contact the Support Office through the helpdesk and a hotline. The service is provided in several EU working languages (EN, SP, IT, DE, FR, NL), between 09:30 and 18:00 (Central European Time Zone) on weekdays, with the exception of official Belgian holidays.

The average response time is only one day, so ask your questions and the Support Office team will be there to help you!

Source www.copernicus.eu

Airbus built Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite ready for launch

Thu, 20/07/2017 - 14:50

Sentinel-5 Precursor is part of the global monitoring programme “Copernicus”, a joint European Commission–ESA undertaking which aims to acquire continuous and accurate Earth observation data and provide services to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.

Sentinel-5 Precursor will provide essential atmospheric chemistry data to the Copernicus programme before the Sentinel-5 instrument becomes operational in 2021 on the MetOp Second Generation satellite.

Airbus was prime for Sentinel-5 Precursor, with three sites involved in development and manufacturing of the satellites and its components: Stevenage (UK – prime), Toulouse (France) and Friedrichshafen (Germany).

Colin Paynter, Managing Director of Airbus Defence and Space in the UK said: “For Sentinel-5 Precursor we used the commercially successful AstroBus platform, enabling us to meet challenging delivery and cost efficiency targets. This mission will give Europe new way to measure global pollution levels in much greater detail.”

Sentinel-5 Precursor features the TROPOMI (TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument) instrument, developed by Airbus DS Netherlands for the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Netherlands Space Office. TROPOMI will measure ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, methane and other atmospheric pollutants at a higher resolution than previous instruments. Having more accurate atmospheric data will enable improved climate models and pollutant tracking and forecasting. The MetOp Second Generation spacecraft will feature a different Sentinel 5 instrument.

UK Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “The UK-built Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite and the success of the Copernicus Programme demonstrates what we can achieve through collaboration with our European partners and the UK’s vital role in the programme thanks to our Earth observation expertise.

“We’ve been clear that we want our companies and universities to continue participating in key EU space programmes, and through our Industrial Strategy and ongoing investment in the UK space sector, we are ensuring we have the infrastructure and skills in place to support our ambition to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030.”

Josef Aschbacher, Director of Earth Observation Programmes at ESA said: “Sentinel-5 Precursor will be the sixth Sentinel satellite launched as part of the Copernicus space component. It will monitor atmospheric chemistry, an important parameter for air quality and climate change studies. The contribution of the TROPOMI instrument by The Netherlands has been crucial for this ESA mission.”

Sentinel-5 Precursor is due for launch in September 2017.

Notes to editors:
Surrey Satellite Technology Limited supplied a short wave infra-red spectrometer for the TROPOMI instrument.

Source Airbus

Brainnwave Expands in Geo with Quarry One Eleven

Wed, 19/07/2017 - 13:41

The team combines an in-depth understanding of how people want to find and consume data with a knowledge of the very latest in UX, web-design and development, and this has led them to create a website that is as simple to use for customers and suppliers as it is complex in its construction and wide ranging in the data it is able to offer.

Customers now have a single point of access to the world’s data which allows them to either download purchased datasets or have them streamed into their applications via the Brainnwave Geo Web Services.

The ‘Geo-industry’ is data rich to say the very least and every day, more information is being created. Organisations, including the Ordnance Survey, Airbus, the USGS, the European Space Agency and Here have all recognised the power that Brainnwave gives to their customers and prospects in allowing them to search and purchase their datasets; which is why they are all Brainnwave suppliers.

To ensure that this phenomenal growth in use by both suppliers and customers continues, Brainnwave has retained the specialist marketing agency, Quarry One Eleven to promote their service throughout international geo-marketplaces.

Quarry One Eleven Founder and CEO Alistair Maclenan explained why his team is so excited about working with the company’s latest client; “Brainnwave will change how people look for and consume data. The site provides users with a single point of search and purchase for the world’s datasets; that’s a massive leap forwards. Additionally, allowing people to have the data streamed into their applications or downloaded, puts users in control and that’s how it should be.”

Talking about his company’s unique offering to the geospatial industries and working with Quarry One Eleven, Head of Marketing for Brainnwave, David Riley commented; “Brainnwave is a new and innovative global marketplace for data. We are committed to democratising the discovery of and access to data to ignite global innovation.

Developing a platform that enables a new breed of business intelligence. Harnessing the tidal wave of data that is growing exponentially, providing a simple way to discover, access and fuse data into an analytics engine. Turning data into opportunity.

The data industry is rapidly changing, moving towards a service led model. We are leading the disruption, helping our customers make sense of the data explosion.

Through working with Quarry One Eleven we aim to use their extensive knowledge and experience within the Geospatial industry to tap into the various industries and geo-marketplaces that are becoming ever more reliant on understanding their data needs.

It’s an exciting time for Brainnwave and we are looking forward to working closely with Alistair and his team.”

Brainnwave joins a prestigious roster of clients, both geospatial and from more general technical and scientific disciplines, who rely on Quarry One Eleven for their marketing services.

To view the datasets on offer, please visit www.brainnwave.com
Email questions@quarry-one-eleven.com for any more information.

EARSC Position Paper on Copernicus Evolution

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 16:33

Copernicus is a European programme designed to meet the needs of the public sector for space-derived, geospatial information in support of policy making. Public expenditure on the programme can also be used to support economic goals through commercial use of the data and information that Copernicus produces. The EO services downstream sector is enthusiastic about the opportunities that this can present and has been an active participant to the programme from the outset. Now, as the European Union evaluates its next steps, we consider that it is time to re-enforce the governance to include the voice of industry alongside other stakeholders. This should go hand-in-hand with an industrial strategy based on a service-led approach and coupled with a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda to help develop the sector.

Download the Position Paper on Copernicus evolution

Demonstrating the inherent value of Copernicus

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:07

The European Commission and ESA are looking for operational use cases to highlight how EO-derived products based on data generated by Sentinel satellites, deliver value to society and the citizens. Do you know of any cases? Would you like to suggest forward-thinking ideas?

As an organisation within the Copernicus ecosystem, EARSC (European Association of Remote Sensing Companies) is leading this activity aimed at showcasing the high inherent value of Sentinel satellites’ data for the benefit of EU society.

Copernicus Observer readers may be familiar with the three cases already studied and published last year which show – in different applications domains – that Copernicus really makes a difference! Under EU and ESA funding, EARSC has been awarded a new contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) to analyse more use cases and is starting a second round of research.

Use cases need to be operational (so that a value chain using Sentinel data can be identified) and ideally should involve both public and private actors in the value chain. Furthermore, it is essential to be able to identify a key user (which could be a customer) who would be willing to cooperate in developing the case.

For all selected cases, a specific role is foreseen for the service provider whose service or product will be studied. It will be involved in (a) supporting the analysis of the EO context, (b) helping to establish a contact with the primary user of the EO services/products and © providing any additional information that will help to perform the value chain and benefit analysis. A small budget could be made available to cover any costs.

In return, contributors would benefit from:

  • expert evaluation of the economic benefits of their service or application, that will provide them with a very valuable marketing tool;
  • visibility for their activities, thanks to the combined promotion that will be conducted by the European Commission, ESA and EARSC, which will consist of presentations in high profile events, printed material, press and social media promotion, and possibly video animations.

For proposing new use cases, please contact the EARSC secretariat.

Airbus releases WorldDEM4Ortho, the most accurate elevation model for global orthorectification

Thu, 06/07/2017 - 11:04

Tailored for orthorectification of high and very high resolution optical and radar satellite data, WorldDEM4Ortho will enable corrections of all distortions induced by the topographical variations of the Earth’s surface and satellite orientation when acquiring an image. Covering the Earth’s entire land surface, WorldDEM4Ortho is the most consistent and accurate elevation model for orthorectification on a global scale.

Without these geometrical corrections, satellite images cannot be used in Geographical Information Systems or for any mapping related applications. With the huge development of new geolocated applications like business analytics, location-based services or tourism, the needs for such a consistent and precise elevation model are exploding.

WorldDEM4Ortho is based on the global WorldDEM dataset. It is produced via a fully automated process and features a vertical accuracy of four metres in a 24 metre raster. Identified disturbing terrain artefacts are removed. Bodies of water like lakes or sea are flattened. Rivers are stepped with a flow that follows the surrounding shorelines. Adaptive smoothing processes are also applied to different landscapes and land-use such as urban areas to avoid distortions in the orthorectified image.

Planetek Italia Selected by EARSC as the European Earth Observation Company of the Year

Wed, 05/07/2017 - 17:43

Geoff Sawyer, EARSC Secretary General, Giovanni Sylos Labini- CEO Planetek Italia and Chetan Pradhan, EARSC Chairman

EARSC has thereby recognised Planetek Italia as the company that have made the most significant contribution to the development of the Earth Observation sector in Europe. The criteria used for the selection of the winning company were:

  • the successful development of EO services for a target market (sector or geographic)
  • a strong contribution to a defining European programme (eg. Copernicus, Inspire, ESA projects, etc)
  • exhibited good revenue and/or employment growth.

Since its foundation Planetek has worked with its partners to develop new services and increase its market share, both in new and existing markets. Notably, the company has developed Rheticus®, an automated cloud-based geo-information service platform. It was designed in house to deliver up-to-date, accurate maps, and historical graphical data via a user friendly dashboard. A significant achievement in 2017 is the exploitation of open data such as Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 for use by customers and users from both private and public sectors. Planetek will pursue this in the years to come.

Nominations for the award were collected from EARSC members who then vote and the winner has been selected by an international, independent jury of EO sector representatives.

Planetek Italia is an Italian company specialised in Earth observation, Space solutions and geoservices. The company provides solutions to exploit the value of geospatial data through all phases of data life cycle from acquisition, storage, management up to analysis and sharing. Planetek Italia operates in many application areas ranging from environmental and land monitoring to open-government and smart cities, and including defense and security, as well as scientific missions and planetary exploration.

EARSC represents the Earth Observation geo-information services companies in Europe. Today EARSC has 96 members coming from more than 22 countries in Europe. Our members include both commercial operators of EO satellites, IT, downstream and value-adding companies. The sector plays a key role in providing value-added geo-spatial information to its customers in Europe and the world. In 2016, the revenue of the European EO services sector is estimated to be around one billion euros for approximatively 450 companies and giving work to nearly 7000 highly skilled employees.

Download the Press release

More information on the EARSC company of the year competition

‘Waste from Space’ selected by EARSC as the European Earth Observation Product of the Year

Wed, 05/07/2017 - 12:43

Jon Carver, Air and Space Evidence and Rob Postma, Airbus and sponsor of the cocktail event

The SDGs are being launched with an emphasis on collecting data that will be extensive and specific enough to serve these needs. European Earth Observation industry can help achieve the SDGs by providing critical information on natural resources, government operations, public services, and population demographics. That’s why EARSC decided to focus its 2017 Product award on the industry contribution to SDGs.

During the whole process, 15 companies got interested in the award and 7 of them sent the required documentation. EARSC thereby c Waste from Space by Air and Space Evidence as winner of the context of the commercial product of the year which support the monitoring and reporting against SDGs in the most innovative way.

Waste from Space is a new geo-information product which offers a much-needed intelligence gathering and analysis service to governments, investigating and providing evidence of one of the most significant global environmental problems, unlawful waste dumping sites. The product, which was developed by Air and Space Evidence in 2017, is based on a semi-automated detection model utilising Earth Observation data, enabling the company to offer an effective and commercially viable geospatial intelligence tool that can detect serious waste crime.

This product serves several SDGs indicators. Waste from Space successfully drives down the size of the waste crime problem by combatting organised crime (SDG 16.4), ensure that much more waste/hazardous waste is subject to environmentally sound management in its life cycle (SDG 12.4 push more waste to be treated properly and sustainably within the circular economy (SDG 12.5), and mean much less waste is not released illegally into the environment (SDG 6.3, 11.6 , 12.4).

Air and Space Evidence was founded in the UK in 2014. It is run by highly experienced consultants with a wealth of academic, business, and military intelligence knowledge and connections in the legal, security and technical fields of Earth observation monitoring. They are known as the World’s first “Space Detective Agency”. More info at www.space-evidence.net

EARSC represents the Earth Observation geo-information services companies in Europe. Today EARSC has 96 members coming from more than 22 countries in Europe. Our members include both commercial operators of EO satellites, IT, downstream and value-adding companies. The sector plays a key role in providing value-added geo-spatial information to its customers in Europe and the world. In 2016, the revenue of the European EO services sector is estimated to be around one billion euros for approximatively 450 companies and giving work to nearly 7000 highly skilled employees. More info at www.earsc.org

Download the Press release

More information on the EARSC competition “European EO product of the year”