EARSC.org News

Subscribe to EARSC.org News feed
European Association of Remote Sensing Companies
Updated: 1 hour 24 min ago

Copernicus for Agriculture industry workshop

11 hours 10 min ago

The Agriculture sector can vastly benefit from Copernicus full free and open data and information. The Copernicus programme already interacts with different stakeholders from the agricultural sector and the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service has a number of information products which can be relevant for the Agriculture domain. However, the full potential of the Copernicus programme in support of agriculture can be further developed and exploited.
The aim of the workshop is to address the possible role of the private (downstream) sector for possible solutions, integrating Copernicus data and Copernicus services´ information, in support of the agricultural end-users at the different levels: international, European and Member States’ level.

The event is open and free to registered participants. Please go to “Register now” to sign up as a participant. The registration will close on 31 January 2018.


SPACED workshop: Using Earth Observations to Protect Natural Landscapes

Thu, 07/12/2017 - 16:02

Europe’s latest generation of satellites are opening up a frontier of possibilities to observe the natural environment from above. Monitoring cross-scale geosphere-biosphere interactions at regional to continental scales, addressing long-term and large-scale environmental and ecological challenges is essential. The main objective of the workshop is to prospect the state-of-the-art of Remote Sensing as a Sentinel tool to monitor, characterize and understand the state, ongoing changes and effectiveness of conservation and management actions of natural landscapes and to facilitate an open debate among scientists and the involved Institutions.

This workshop is part of the multiple events organized by the ECOPOTENTIAL Project on the week of 9th-12th of January 2018, starting on Jan 9th with the opening of the photo-exhibition with the same title, on display at the European Parliament. We sincerely look forward to the confirmation of your presence. Due to limited capacity of the venue, attendees are accepted in order of registration. For additional information about the workshop please contact Silvia Giamberini (giamberini@igg.cnr.it) or Cristina Domingo (cristina.domingo@uab.cat).

Register here

WorldDEM Urban Footprint - Mapping the World's Human Settlements

Wed, 06/12/2017 - 23:12

Hazards such as volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, cyclones, floods, and droughts may be more destructive in areas that have undergone urbanisation. Accordingly, cities must constantly adapt to changing environmental conditions and political and social circumstances.

_ WorldDEM Urban Footprint (orange) on a UK-DMC2 image – Nuevo Laredo, Mexico_

A good understanding of the evolution of human settlements is key to developing strategies to assure sustainable urban development and improved community resilience.
WorldDEM Urban Footprint – What is in it for you?

A reliable global reference layer about the presence of human settlements and urban structures is the basis for

  • the mapping of human settlements and the analysis of settlement patterns,
  • regional statistics and population distribution,
  • the monitoring of urban sprawl, hot-spots like urban development areas & global megacity development,
  • environmental studies,
  • exposure mapping in hazard modelling,
  • modelling the potential effects of climate change on human settlements,

to derive conclusions and strategies on how to deal with global change, climate change, natural disasters, geo-risks, political conflicts, access to resources, poverty, international humanitarian crises, carbon emissions, environmental threats and risks to our ecosystem induced by the impact of human intervention, and the need of making energy production sustainable.

More information

EuroGEOSS infographics

Wed, 06/12/2017 - 11:55

EuroGEOSS infographics

Learn more on EuroGEOSS website

How Earth Observation became Europe’s “Silicon Valley”

Fri, 01/12/2017 - 17:00

With the success of the Copernicus Accelerator, and the second edition recently launched at the European Space Week in Tallinn, Europe is coaching its own generation of space start-ups that are merging the latest tech with the results of decades of Earth Observation research.

When thinking about the word start-up, the image that usually comes to one’s mind is a few people hunched over their laptops coding away the next billion-dollar company. And Silicon Valley, the tech cradle of the world for half a century, is probably where this scene is set. Europe, on the other hand, doesn’t have its iconic location for upstart companies. But it doesn’t need one. It has found another way to gather entrepreneurs around one pivotal technology – Earth Observation (EO) from space.

Most of those involved in the start-up world know its origin story, how famous tech leaders of today started off as nerds sitting in a garage back in the 80s. They were obsessed with computer technologies, something that only government and large research institutions were using at that time. Similarly, EO for a long time had mostly been the domain of governments and scientists, only those who could afford to launch EO satellites or to buy the expensive data. But the Copernicus Programme with its full, free and open data policy is a game-changer. It is tapping into the core of the open data movement that is powering the current tech breakthroughs, just like open source has been key to most of the innovations in the last decades.

However, both technical and business skills have to come together to transform a “cool idea” into a profitable business, or, as they say in the Valley, every Wozniak needs their Jobs and vice versa. To boost this part of the start-up ecosystem equation, the European Commission launched the Copernicus Accelerator.

Earth-i to use KSAT’s Ground Stations to Receive First Commercial Full-Colour Video From Space

Fri, 01/12/2017 - 16:03

KSAT’s ground station at Svalbard, ideally located at 78´north

Last week Earth-i announced that it had ordered the first five satellites of its constellation from SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd).

Today the company has confirmed that its prototype satellite is now en route to launch provider Antrix in India with the launch planned for late-December on a PSLV rocket. This satellite will be used to test performance and confirm capabilities for the future constellation including tasking, data downlinks to ground stations, and image and full-colour video capture from space.

In addition, Earth-i has chosen Norway’s KSAT to provide ground network services for its new Earth Observation (EO) constellation.

Footage recorded by Earth-i’s fleet of satellites will be received direct to KSAT’s ground stations around the world within minutes of being recorded.

From the KSAT ground stations, images and videos will be immediately accessible to Earth-i’s headquarters in the UK to begin processing and running analysis on the data. The information gathered will improve decision-making and response times in a wide variety of scenarios from change detection to object identification, from disaster response to infrastructure monitoring.

KSAT president and CEO, Rolf Skatteboe, said “Earth-i is an innovative, exciting and ambitious New Space company whose constellation will move the EO industry forward immensely.”

Richard Blain, CEO of Earth-i, said: “Selecting KSAT as part of our ground segment ecosystem is a big step forward in our growth. Working with KSAT will ensure that we can deliver the high-temporal resolution that our clients need to guarantee they have the images and video data they need, when they need it.”

Earth-i is at the forefront of an era known as New Space which is being driven by commercial organisations that want to improve investment and trading decisions, monitor and track their assets more cost effectively, track changes or activities in critical locations – and predict future events with more certainty.

Earth-i’s constellation will be a major leap forward for the EO industry providing a number of innovative capabilities including:

  • The provision of high-frame rate images with resolutions better than one metre for any location on Earth.
  • The ability to film moving objects such as vehicles, vessels and aircraft in ultra-high-definition colour video.
  • Revisiting the same location multiple times per day with agile satellites that can be pointed to acquire imagery of specific areas of interest.
  • Rapid tasking of satellites to take images or video, and fast data download within minutes of acquisition.

Satellite Images of West Attica Flood Help Government Response - European Space Imaging Reports

Wed, 29/11/2017 - 11:52

European Space Imaging captured 30 cm resolution images of the area using the WorldView-4 satellite on November 21. The images clearly show the damage wrought by the torrents of water and mud, and the path the water took as it flowed down the sides of the mountains and into gullies.

“The satellite images were made immediately available to the Space Applications and Remote Sensing Institute of National Observatory of Athens for the purpose of planning and maintaining situational awareness of the event in collaboration with first responders and government agencies,” said Vana Giavi, Managing Director of TotalView, European Space Imaging’s partner in Greece.

It has been reported that inappropriate urban development may have been a major contributing factor to the event’s severity, as natural floodways have been blocked by unlicensed construction.

bq.“The very high resolution satellite imagery will be an invaluable tool for the Greek government to detect the presence of illegal buildings, and to plan future flood-prevention infrastructure,” said Adrian Zevenbergen, Managing Director of European Space Imaging.

Earth-colored water flooded the streets of Mandra, and is clearly visible in satellite photos. 21/11/2017 by WorldView-4 @ 30 cm resolution © European Space Imaging

The African Union Commission Awards Thirteen Consortia of Institutions to Implement the GMES and Africa Support Programme

Tue, 28/11/2017 - 19:13

The award ceremony holds on the margins of the 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Cote d`Ivoire.

Following a Call for Proposals in May 2017, a number of African institutions operating in the areas of water, natural resources, marine and coastal areas, applied for the GMES and Africa Support Programme Grants. To evaluate the applications and select the most suitable consortia of institutions that submitted proposals, the African Union Commission instituted a committee supported by a team of assessors comprising African earth observation experts.

Thirteen consortia of institutions were finally selected and the award marks the official announcement of their selection.
1. Central Africa: Agence Gabonaise d’Etudes et d’Observations Spatiale (AGEOS) and Commission Internationale du Bassin Congo-Oubangui-Sangha (CICOS) for Water and natural resources service.

2. East Africa: IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) and Regional Centre for Mapping off Resources for Development (RCMRD) for Water and natural resources service; Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI) for Marine and coastal areas service

3.North Africa: National Authority for Remote Sensing & Space Sciences (NARSS) for marine and coastal area service; Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel (OSS) for water and natural ressources service

4. Southern Africa: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for marine and coastal areas service; Southern African Development Community Climate Services Centre (SADC-CSC) and Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) for water and natural resources service

5. West Africa: Centre de Suivi Ecologique (CSE) and Obafemi Awolowo University; Ile-Ife, Nigeria (CSSTE-Obafemi) for water and natural resources service; University of Ghana (UG) for Marine and coastal areas service

At the award ceremony, the Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology at the African Union Commission, Professor Sarah Anyang Agbor, felicitated the successful institutions on their selection, which she said was based on their experience and proven capacities. She implored them to deliver the goods, and promised the African Union Commission’s unflinching support.

More information

Invitation to the the 3rd EARSeL SIG LU/LC and NASA LCLUC joint Workshop

Sun, 26/11/2017 - 11:03

It will be organised around four sessions:

  • Synergy of remote sensing technologies for land-use change monitoring
  • The role of earth observations within the Water – Energy – Food nexus
  • Social and behavioral aspects of land use supported by remote sensing observations
  • Advances and outlook in the processing and analysis of remotely sensed data

For the submission procedure, please visit the ‘Abstract Submission’ section at
http://lulc.earsel.org/workshop/2018-lulc- ws/abstract-submission/- ws/abstract-submission/.

Reasons to join:

  • EU meets US and US meets EU in Earth Observation applications in Land Use and Land Cover, a kind of Landsat meets Sentinel in place!
  • A big prestigious community will be there to discuss with you. Check previous events (Prague, Berlin)!
  • Papers are to be published in IF international Journals to be announced soon.
  • A special Come Together event is planned to welcome you and a wonderful (optional) Cretan social dinner with traditional music and dances to accompany your discussions.
  • And… The Workshop will be held in conjunction with the 38th Annual EARSeL Symposium. Thus, the participants may further benefit from an even bigger networking and discussion platform opportunity for further debates and multidisciplinary interactions. Staying a few days longer is a plus then!

More information

PlanetObserver presents new PlanetSAT Updates imagery basemap of the United States and Mexico

Thu, 23/11/2017 - 19:40

Key user benefits of the new PlanetSAT Updates basemap are:

  • Up-to-date and reliable geographic information data, available immediately,
  • Plug-and-play product, ready-to-use in all professional applications,
  • Flexible licensing and pricing models.

PlanetSAT Updates basemap is a unique backdrop solution that brings strong added value to many commercial and military applications, ranging from flight simulation, geo-intelligence and mission preparation solutions, geographic information systems, to mapping applications such as web-based mapping solutions.

The production of PlanetSAT Updates basemap of the United States and Mexico is part of a comprehensive annual maintenance program set up by PlanetObserver in 2016. All new PlanetSAT Updates productions are merged into PlanetSAT Global imagery basemap. Users benefit from constantly refreshed data, perfect to develop new applications and efficient services serving a wide variety of markets.

Laurent Masselot, CEO of PlanetObserver said, “The new PlanetSAT Updates basemap of the United States and Mexico fulfills customers’ expectations, specifically for those based in North America, a market that we target in partnership with East View Geospatial. We are excited to offer an efficient and unique mapping product with advanced color balance that will improve user experience.

To find out more on PlanetSAT Updates basemap of the United States and Mexico, visit PlanetObserver website at www.planetobserver.com.

About PlanetObserver
PlanetObserver offers a full range of value-added geospatial products: PlanetSAT range of global imagery basemaps, PlanetDEM global and accurate Digital Elevation Models, and on-demand service for Very High Resolution imagery and orthophotography. All products are developed internally, backed up by PlanetObserver know-how in geospatial data processing and 30 years of technological expertise. PlanetObserver geospatial data are perfect for numerous commercial, military and consumer applications, ranging from web-mapping to 2D and 3D visualization and simulation solutions, GIS tools, cartographic mapping to audio-visual production.
Contact : PlanetObserver – 25 bd Gergovia – 63000 Clermont-Ferrand – France
Phone : (+33) 04 73 44 19 00 – info@planetobserver.com – www.planetobserver.com

CloudFerro with a € 1.3 million contract from ECMWF

Thu, 23/11/2017 - 12:31

Hybrid cloud from Poland

ECMWF is an international organization for weather forecasting and climate analysis. In May this year, it announced the creation and operation of a satellite data acquisition and processing system for climate change monitoring (Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) for which it is responsible within the framework of Copernicus – the European Earth Observation Programme. Aligned with the European Cloud Computing Strategy, adopted by the European Commission, the Copernicus strategy foresees an incremental and fast adoption of cloud based infrastructures. In line with these aims, and taking into consideration the huge volumes of data needed to be transferred into the system, it has been decided to host the CDS on a fully managed On-premises Private Cloud with an additional Public Cloud service to allow for further growth – the Hybrid Cloud solution. The data repository will be made available to a fully managed local private cloud with additional public cloud service, allowing for further growth. Twelve companies, including European market leaders, participated in an open tender where quality and price of the solution were of equal importance. CloudFerro’s hybrid cloud – a combination of a private and public cloud – proved to be the best and the Polish company signed a contract with ECMWF worth 1.3 million euros. The contract has been signed for 15 months with the possibility of extending it and increasing the scope of services provided by CloudFerro.

Innovative and reliable

We have proposed an innovative cloud solutions, which have been successfully used by customers in Poland and abroad. By winning the tender we have confirmed the highest quality of our technology and services based on it. It is more valuable for us to have achieved this by competing with European market leaders. It also shows that our solutions perfectly meet the needs articulated in the European Cloud Computing Strategy emphasizes Maciej Krzyżanowski, CEO of CloudFerro.

Thanks to the CloudFerro technology, ECMWF will use its own private cloud while having access to the public cloud at eocloud.cloudferro.com, created by the Polish company. Both solutions are based on OpenStack’s open source cloud-based system and are entirely managed by CloudFerro. The reliability and flexibility of the solution offered is extremely important since it will be at the heart of the C3S infrastructure. The system is designed to provide a consolidated view and point of access to climate data distributed over multiple data suppliers. All C3S data will be catalogued in the CDS, and augmented with quality information that allows data users to easily appraise, discover and select appropriate data. The private cloud at ECMWF will have about 1 PetaByte (1 000 TeraBytes) of storage space linked to the computing environment.

EOCloud – the biggest and the best

The unique base of satellite data combined with the fast computing cloud – EO Cloud – has been created by CloudFerro as a result of a bid for the Earth Observation Innovaitive Platform Testbed (EO IPT). The company won it jointly with Polish Creotech Instruments SA and German Brockmann Consult in late 2015 as a consortium member responsible for technology development. It is one of the biggest and best cloud solutions on the market. CloudFerro’s repository has recently reached 5 PB – it is an equivalent of disk space of ca. 5000 laptops – with daily receipt of 15 to 25 TB of new data.

EO Cloud has nearly 5 million satellite imagery products from Earth observations made by European satellites within Copernicus project. It provides Sentinel 1 radar observations, transmits multiple optical images of Sentinel 2 and delivers meteorological observations of Sentinel 3 satellites. The EO Cloud also includes historical data from Landsat, Envisat and Sentinel satellites. All data may be searched in a simple, quick and convenient way at https://finder.eocloud.eu and viewed with http://apps.eocloud.sentinel-hub.com/eo-browser

Should you need any further information regarding CloudFerro’s products and services, please do not hesitate to contact Maciej Krzyżanowski: mkrzyzanowski@cloudferro.com

We are now seeking for a COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT to increase the core team

Wed, 22/11/2017 - 16:07

EARSC – the European Association of Remote Sensing Companies – is a non-profit trade association working on behalf of the geospatial information services industry in Europe representing 100 SME or Large companies. Composed of 5 people, the EARSC Secretariat is based in Brussels.

EARSC is looking for a Communications Assistant to support the work of the Association. The person will interact with the EO services industry as well as many stakeholders throughout Europe and worldwide. Based in Brussels, the person will work with the EARSC Secretariat and has to be flexible and motivated by participating to various and transverse activities.

More information about the position can be found here Communications Assistant Description

If you are interested, please send a letter of motivation (in English) and a CV to info@earsc.org.

Active digital map for French Armed Forces will provide decisive mission advantage

Wed, 22/11/2017 - 13:28

This system is an essential component of the “GEODE4D” programme (geography, hydrography, oceanography and meteorology for defence) and will be available via a single and secure portal. It will allow all Ministry of Defence actors to access and share the same geophysical environment data and select and present them in a coherent way, according to the “one card for all” principle.

“This programme shows the confidence of the DGA in Airbus and its partners for the construction of this information system for the French Armed Forces,” said François Lombard, Head of the Intelligence Business Cluster at Airbus Defence and Space. “One of the major challenges for the “SI GEODE4D”, which can truly be qualified as the active digital map of the 21st century, is also to assist our armed forces with their digital transformation.”

It is vital to reinforce the ability to manage information and intelligence for early threat detection and identification. To provide an appropriate response to these varied and constantly changing threats, an accurate understanding of the geophysical environment is crucial for deployed forces. In future, the “SI GEODE4D” system, consisting of various services and applications, will provide the armed forces with an interoperable, coherent and shared vision of the geophysical environment, consistent with the NATO REP concept (Recognised Environmental Picture).

The consortium is headed by Airbus Defence and Space and built around four innovative and specialised partner companies: Magellium for geography; Météo France International for meteorology, hydrography and oceanography; Bertin for the tool providing decision-making aids; and Deloitte for change management.

The contract also includes the refurbishment of the geographical and meteorological–oceanographic data production centres in Creil, Haguenau and Toulouse. In particular, this refurbishment is designed to meet the need for the increased volume and transmission rates involved in the visualisation of all the environmental data on the future GEODE4D portal.

Satellite Images of Turkey Show Whirlwind Damage - European Space Imaging Reports

Wed, 22/11/2017 - 11:37

European Space Imaging captured a very high resolution image of the beachside village of Mavikent in the District of Kumluca using the WorldView-2 satellite on November 16, three days after the whirlwind ripped through. The satellite image shows a clear trail of destruction through the landscape.

It is reported that a waterspout merged with a severe storm to form the whirlwind that reached speeds of up to 200 km per hour. The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) have provided temporary shelters for people displaced by the storm.

The whirlwind’s path of destruction through the agricultural greenhouses can be clearly seen. 16/11/2017 by WorldView-2 @ 50cm resolution © European Space Imaging

EARSC Position Paper on Earth Observation Services Industry Internationalisation & Economic Diplomacy

Tue, 21/11/2017 - 12:36

European companies offering Earth Observation (EO) products and services see growth in export business as a major target for the next few years. But most are small or micro-sized and, as a result of their scale, face strong barriers for international business. A European effort on Economic Diplomacy can help companies overcome these barriers.

Alongside the strong industrial competences, the European Copernicus programme is seen as being a major asset to drive growth for Europe. It is a major policy tool by which policy makers can help industry gain competitive advantage for Europe and help drive business growth. Many countries are watching this European effort and at the same time are striving to develop their own competing assets. As Copernicus becomes fully operational, now is the time to take advantage of this European flagship programme in the global market, before others have time to react.

The free and open data policy gives a great deal of diplomatic credit to Europe. But this policy helps non-European companies as much as European ones. If the European Union (EU) is to take full advantage of the investment in Copernicus then a concerted effort is necessary between public and private actors.

In recognition and anticipation, companies are encouraging EARSC to increase its activities with the goal to help them develop new business in international markets. EARSC is ready to play a key role on behalf of its members and welcomes the increased focus from the European Commission (EC) on this same goal. One step could be to establish an Internationalisation Office to act as a source and focus for expertise available to both industry and to the engaged public stakeholders.

Download the position paper on Internationalisation

Earth-i Orders Satellites from SSTL for World’s First Full-Colour Video Constellation

Tue, 21/11/2017 - 11:46

British ‘New Space’ pioneer Earth-i today announced that it has ordered the first five satellites from SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd) for its new Earth Observation (EO) constellation.

Earth-i is building the first constellation in the world able to provide full-colour video – and the first European-owned constellation able to provide both video and still images.

This constellation will be a major leap forward for the Earth Observation industry providing a number of innovative capabilities including:

  • The provision of high-frame rate images with resolutions better than one metre for any location on Earth.
  • The ability to film moving objects such as vehicles, vessels and aircraft in ultra-high-definition colour video.
  • Revisiting the same location multiple times per day with agile satellites that can be pointed to image specific areas of interest.
  • Rapid tasking of satellites to take images or video, and fast data download within minutes of acquisition.

Footage recorded by Earth-i’s fleet of satellites will be available for analysis within minutes of being taken and will improve decision-making and response times in a wide variety of scenarios from change detection to object identification, from disaster response to infrastructure monitoring.

The creation of Earth-i’s constellation starts with the imminent launch of its pre-production prototype satellite which was also designed and manufactured in partnership with SSTL. This prototype will demonstrate and prove technology and processes for the future constellation including tasking, data downlinks to ground stations, image quality and video from space. The five SSTL satellites ordered today are planned to be launched in 2019.

Welcoming the signing of the contract and the imminent launch of the prototype, Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

“Some of Britain’s most exciting commercial opportunities are in the thriving space sector and it’s great to see two home-grown companies joining forces to lead the world on Earth Observation technologies. The Government is investing record amounts in science and innovation and is committed to growing our share of the global space market. The upcoming Industrial Strategy will build on our strengths and capabilities as a nation, and projects like this show what we can achieve.”

Earth-i is at the forefront of an era known as New Space which is being driven by commercial organisations that are able to:

  • Improve investment and trading decisions.
  • Monitor and track their assets more cost-effectively.
  • Track changes or activities in critical locations.
  • Predict future events with more certainty.

Richard Blain, CEO of Earth-i, said: “SSTL is our long-term supply partner and today’s order is a key milestone for the deployment of our constellation. We’re on track and in countdown mode to the imminent launch of our prototype satellite. This new satellite, and today’s announcement, mark significant progress on the way to a step-change in how Governments and industry use new types of data from space to make better, more effective and timely decisions to improve our daily lives.”

The origin of Earth-i’s constellation lies in the Carbonite 1 technology demonstrator satellite launched by SSTL in July 2015 and still fully operational. The batch of production satellites ordered by Earth-i will be based on the second prototype satellite about to be launched into orbit, but will incorporate significant additional enhancements already in development by SSTL for Earth-i.

SSTL is a world-leading company in the design, build and launch of small satellites. It has pioneered the reduction in the size and cost of satellites making a new era of commercial satellite constellations possible.

SSTL’s Managing Director Sarah Parker said: “Together SSTL and Earth-i are creating something truly special: a major leap forward in capabilities for Earth Observation from space.

“Earth-i has the team and the technology to deliver on their goals and SSTL’s satellite technology will be a foundation stone for Earth-i’s future success in the emerging market for planetary big data.”

Euroconsult Report on Satellite-Based Earth Observation: Market Prospects to 2026

Fri, 17/11/2017 - 16:06

Highlights from the report:

The Earth Observation (EO) data and services market should reach $8.5 billion by 2026 based on current growth trajectories. An alternative value-added services (VAS) model also presented has a combined market potential of $15 billion. This upside model considers the implications of new supply solutions being able to open further markets. As well, advances in artificial intelligence and deep learning are expected to benefit the sector, acting as enablers for new solutions based on change-detection analytics.

The growth drivers for data and services are distinctly different. Defense still dominates the market for commercial data, with the sector alone responsible for over $1 billion in data sales with a focus on very high resolution and high accuracy data sets. Data prices to support defense applications are expected to remain high, a drawback for services development in the civil government and private sector. VAS’ largest markets remain infrastructure and natural resources monitoring, however in order to build these solutions often lower-cost or free data solutions are utilized. This creates a disparity in the value-chain in which high-cost, precision data sets make up most of the defense-driven commercial data market, whereas more services are being built from less expensive, more competitively-priced solutions.

Companies (both operators and new service providers, such as Orbital Insights, AllSource Analysis, etc.) are building algorithms to detect changes in multisourced data to detect patterns and build predictive analytics. Bringing higher-frequency collected data into these models, the so-called “Big Data” environment will further aid developments, with the potential to open new services areas based around location-based systems such as financial intelligence and site monitoring, among others.

Euroconsult has identified approximately 20 companies that have announced intentions to develop lower-cost constellations to collect data at a high rate of revisit based on smallsat and cubesat technologies. As of 2017, these new operators have attracted more than $600 million in venture capital to fund their initiatives. None of the newly announced initiatives have yet reached full capacity; for these constellations to come to fruition, additional investments will be required.

From 2007 to 2016, 181 EO/non-meteorology satellites were launched; the cost to develop these satellites generated $17.4 billion in manufacturing market revenues. Over the next decade more than 600 EO satellites (50kg+, non-meteorology) should be launched to support EO applications. Nearly fifty countries are expected to launch satellite capacity, and over half should be from the private sector; this is expected to generate over $33 billion in manufacturing market revenues. Cumulatively, developing programs could represent $4 billion in market value (12% of the total). This figure remains significant, as the majority of export opportunities are to be found with emerging programs, as opposed to more established government EO programs, which remain captive.

Two new Earth Explorer concepts to understand our rapidly changing world

Thu, 16/11/2017 - 16:20

Thanks to new technical developments, the Far-infrared Outgoing Radiation Understanding and Monitoring (FORUM) candidate would measure radiation emitted from Earth across the entire far-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Significantly, it measures in the 15–100 micron range, which has never been done from space before.

These observations are important because Earth emits infrared radiation to space, which is affected by water vapour and cirrus clouds, which, in turn, play key roles in Earth’s temperature.

FORUM’s benchmark measurements would improve our understanding of the greenhouse effect and, importantly, contribute to the accuracy of climate change assessments that form the basis for policy decisions.

The Sea-surface Kinematics Multiscale monitoring (SKIM) candidate would carry a novel wide-swath scanning multibeam radar altimeter to measure ocean-surface currents. Uniquely, it uses a Doppler technique, which offers more direct measurements than conventional satellite altimeters.

These new measurements would improve our understanding of vertical and horizontal ocean–surface dynamics over the global ocean every few days. This would lead to better knowledge of how the ocean and atmosphere interact – for example, how atmospheric carbon dioxide is drawn down into the ocean.

SKIM would have particular relevance for understanding the rapidly changing Arctic Ocean, and for observing equatorial regions where conventional satellite altimeters are unable to provide useful measurements of currents.

ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Josef Aschbacher, said, “As part of our effort to realise cutting-edge missions, Earth Explorers are built to answer some of the most pressing scientific questions about our planet.Out of the 13 concepts that we received following our call for proposals last year, the Earth Science Advisory Committee recommended that FORUM and SKIM enter a competitive feasibility phase.

“With this recommendation now accepted, these two candidates will spend the next two years being studied thoroughly. In 2019, a User Consultation Meeting will be held, after which a decision will be taken by ESA’s Member States as to which of the two contenders will be implemented.

“We foresee Earth Explorer 9 being launched in 2025.”

Turning Up the Volume in EO Imagery

Thu, 16/11/2017 - 10:51

However, increasing supply, and pressure from downstream services are prompting the development of volume-based imagery platforms, serving customers on the cloud, through a subscription or revenue-sharing system.

But who will be the main users of high-volume imagery platforms? What imagery do they need? And how should these platforms be designed?

NSR’s Satellite-based Earth Observation, 9th Edition report forecasts the global opportunity for the sale of satellite imagery to reach $1.8 Billion by 2026, driven by high demand downstream, and more competition upstream from new players and constellations.

Moving away from pixels to analysis and insights, demand for high volumes of imagery is growing quickly, especially for Big Data analytics applications. Companies such as Orbital Insights, Ursa Space, and Descartes Labs, looking to monitor entire economies, track multitudes of assets, and better model customer behavior, require platforms that streamline, and in some cases, automate the image-selection process.

NSR forecasts optical high-resolution (HR) imagery will be in greatest demand, benefitting from lower prices than very high-resolution (VHR) ones, with high precision suited to asset monitoring. As such, HR optical imagery sales will represent 58% of the global market by 2026. However, SAR data demand is expected to increase, with new constellations planned by Capella Space and Iceye among others. Bulk-order contracts between SI Imaging and Ursa Space are just one example of SAR data becoming more commoditized.

Currently, there are over 30 commercial satellite imagery constellations planned for the next decade, and while it is unlikely that all will launch, the increasing competition will continue to drive both optical and SAR imagery prices down.

Data platforms are not just the domain of emerging Earth Observation companies. DigitalGlobe’s GBDx and Airbus D&S’ OneAtlas services allow developers to create tools to extract insights from growing imagery libraries.

As more platforms come online, added functionality and customer-focused design will be important for securing additional business and broadening the market. Key factors for high-volume imagery services are quality, cadence, pricing, and the data platform itself. Quality of imagery differs from one vertical to another, with most service-based verticals demanding higher resolution, and many wide-area monitoring applications able to make do with medium or lower resolution. Cadence, more often referred to as refresh, refers to the frequency of data collection and delivery, better for applications looking to assess the current and future states of markets. High-volume services bring a significant price reduction for imagery, more-so in medium resolution (MR) markets where prices have already depreciated quite rapidly in recent years. Finally, as more data platforms are developed, extra features such as automation and value-added information will be leveraged to garner more customers.

While even the most traditionally-minded verticals are also making the transition to volume-based platforms, such as through Planet’s $14M contract with NGA, and BlackSky Global’s $16M contract with the USAF, this transition is slow, and more predominant in North America. Established relationships, a strong tendency to internalize imagery analysis, and different sales cycles than seen in more service-based verticals are expected to limit volume-based platform adoption in most regions. As a result, NSR expects Defense & Intelligence and Public Authorities to more strongly favor traditionally-purchased, by-the-scene VHR imagery, forecasting these verticals to represent 75% of the entire data market by 2026.

Bottom Line

There is significant pressure for the commoditization of commercial satellite Earth Observation data today. Downstream service providers want more data, more often, to extract insightful value from imagery coupled with ancillary data sources. There is a long-established history of declining imagery prices, which is accelerated due to increasing competition and supply both up- and down-stream.

Volume-based platforms are expanding the opportunity for Earth Observation data, attracting customers and users typically outside the industry, through Big Data analytics. As such, volume purchases are better for business, tapping into a segment growing 5 times faster than traditional scene-buying has traditionally experienced.

New data providers, focused on high imagery cadence, will require volume-based platforms to leverage their imagery, and established providers have already begun benefitting from the way platforms can make archived imagery relevant again. The more traditionally-minded verticals will continue to hesitate to adopt these platforms, but cost-saving automation and more frequent and reliable data are enticing opportunities.

European Space Imaging celebrates 15 years of success

Tue, 14/11/2017 - 11:05

© European Space Imaging

Established and operated in Munich, Germany, European Space Imaging began in 2002. The concept of a European based satellite imaging company was born when Managing Director Adrian Zevenbergen sat down with GAF Founder Dr. Rupert Hayden, Space Imaging Middle East Managing Director Mohammed El Kadi and DLR Director Ground Station Dr. Klaus Reiniger over dinner at Franziskaner Brau in Munich. “It has been a win-win situation that has continued until today,” said Dr. Hayden.

With a focus on delivering quality imagery combined with expert and personalised customer support, the company has developed a reputation and unbeatable track record for supplying tailored very high resolution imagery solutions to meet the diverse projects and requirements of the industry.

From humble beginnings as a one man operation, the company has since grown to 37 employees and has achieved strength to strength as the years have passed.

Earlier this year the company made a significant multi-million dollar investment in the Constellation Direct Access Facility located at the German Aerospace Centre DLR. This investment allows the company to operate a multi-mission capable ground station and directly task the DigitalGlobe WorldView satellite fleet to offer comprehensive solutions to their customers across Europe, North Africa and the CIS countries. Currently European Space Imaging is the only European satellite data provider capable of this.

“It is an honor to be celebrating this milestone for the company. Through hard work and the dedication of all our staff members we have grown to be recognized as the leading satellite imagery provider in Europe. Every single employee is dedicated to serving the needs of our customers and providing innovative solutions to enable not only the company to succeed, but also our customers. We have come a long way over the last 15 years and I am excited to see what the future holds for the company,” said Adrian Zevenbergen, Managing Director at European Space Imaging.

Source : European Space Imaging