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RHEA Group is contributing to the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Earth Explorer and other Earth observation (EO) missions, designed to observe different aspects of Earth’s system, through payload data ground segment engineering support service at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy. RHEA staff provide technical expertise through each mission’s life cycle, from the preliminary design to the operations, and the long-term data preservation for missions that have ended their operational life. 

ESA’s Earth Explorers are small research missions, supported by a series of satellites, dedicated to studying specific aspects of the Earth’s environment while demonstrating new technology in space. They survey meteorological and oceanographic activities on Earth, such as the motions of the winds and tides. Others explore the thickness of the polar ice sheets and the nature of Earth's magnetic field. Their objective is to help us better understand the complex processes taking place on our planet, including the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and Earth's interior, with an overall emphasis on learning more about the interactions between these systems and the impact that human activity is having on Earth's natural processes.

Image © ESA

The Earth Explorer research missions are pivotal to FutureEO, ESA’s EO research and development programme. Since the first Earth Explorer, GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer), was launched in 2009, each mission has continued to surpass expectations. Used by the scientific community, the Earth Explorers demonstrate how breakthrough technology can continually deliver an amazing range of scientific findings about the Earth. They underpin the scientific excellence that is critical to addressing the challenges society faces today – and will in the future – from understanding different aspects of the climate system, such as atmospheric dynamics and ice melt, to societal issues such as food security and freshwater resources.

RHEA is the prime contractor for the Payload Data Ground Segment (PDGS) Engineering Support Services (ESS) consortium, working with three partners: Serco, Solenix and Telespazio. RHEA provides over 65 highly skilled professionals across four areas with specific competencies, with an overarching service management layer that ensures service effectiveness and continuity.   

PDGS ESS – mission lifecycle

Our engineers work on the development of each mission to ensure the integration and validation of the mission’s systems and subsystems. This then passes to the ground segment colleagues supporting the mission operations and coordinating all the relevant activities, including the mission acquisition planning. A third cross-area team supports the common elements shared by the missions, such as data processing and storage infrastructure and security services. We also have a team of experts working on the preservation of data held by ESA to ensure the acquired EO data is maintained over time and made available to the scientific community.

Stefano Tatoni, RHEA’s Business Director, Italy, said, “Under the ESS (Engineering Support Services) contract, our engineers work on some amazing projects, from the preliminary definition phase, where the system requirements and interfaces are prepared and the subsystem and instruments design are defined, through launch, data dissemination and preservation, to the disposal of the satellite. The information gained from these EO satellites is now vital to help us understand our changing Earth and RHEA is very proud to be part of it.” 

Phase 1 of the ESS contract is now approaching closure  and the team is excited to continue its cooperation with ESA for phase 2, which will run until 2026. The team know they will face new challenges as the Earth Explorers move into new mission phases.

With the European Digital Strategy, the EU plans to build a strong policy and legislative framework to ensure fairness in the digital environment, stimulate a competitive data market, open opportunities for data-driven innovation and make data more accessible for all. In this context, the Data Act (currently in trialogue negotiations) and the Data Governance Act (entered into force on 23rd June 2022) will support the set up and development of the Common European Data Spaces in making more data available and facilitating data sharing across sectors and EU countries. Following up on the Directive on open data and the re-use of public sector information, the Commission’s DG CNECT has also adopted on December 2022 the Implemented Act on a list of High-Value Datasets.

The Green Deal Data Space (GDDS) will be a transversal, cross-sectoral data space building the Common European Data Spaces among sector-specific spaces. The Green Deal Data Space Foundation, the GREAT project, funded by the Digital Europe program, aims to establish the GDDS and its Community of Practice which builds on both the European Green Deal and the EU’s Strategy for Data. The project will deliver a roadmap for implementing and deploying the GDDS, an infrastructure that will allow data providers and initiatives to openly share their data to tackle climate change in a multidisciplinary manner. By filling in the following questionnaire you will contribute to identifying the challenges and gaps related to the use of Green Deal data and your answers will be used to assess use case proposals.

Click on the link below to open the questionnaire!

For the next 6 years, Planetek Hellas will support the Rapid Mapping Component of the European COPERNICUS Emergency Mapping Service (CEMS). With more than 650 events, and over 5000 satellite maps delivered to more than 46 countries in ten years of activity, the service has been supporting the First Response Units around the globe when disasters occurred.

The service provides the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre with on-demand satellite maps of areas affected by natural disasters or humanitarian crises within just a few hours from request. Maps are all accessible free of charge by all civil protection, emergency and territory management users, facilitating damage assessment procedures, allowing relief agencies to respond much more quickly and efficiently.

The Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS) uses satellite imagery and other geospatial data to provide free of charge mapping service in cases of natural disasters, human-made emergency situations and humanitarian crises throughout the world. It covers in particular: Floods, Earthquakes, Landslides, Severe Storms, Fires, Technological disasters, Volcanic eruptions, Humanitarian crises, Tsunamis.

EMS – Rapid Mapping, which is active 24 hours a day 365 days a year, will be operated by a consortium led by e-GEOS and its German subsidiary GAF, Telespazio Iberica in Spain, the Italian company Ithaca, French partners Sertit and CLS, GMV in Portugal, IABG in Germany, Planetek Hellas in Greece and Hensoldt Analytics in Austria.

Over the next six years, the consortium also aims to further improve the service in order to provide maps even faster. With this in mind, the addition of a new Situational Report to the Rapid Mapping portfolio will provide key information on disaster-affected areas, such as exposed population and critical infrastructure, photographic images, as well as multimedia content and open source data, and other useful information to assess the impact of the disaster, within the first 4 hours of activation.

"Operating from Athens, Greece, and being part of a European consortium of top-notch companies that will provide Rapid Mapping products for the Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service, is an honour, a responsibility and at the same time a confirmation of the the related capacity built in Planetek Hellas" Stelios Bollanos, Director of Planetek Hellas, declared.

Learn more:


IRIDE: ESA awards to Planetek 42 million euro contract to develop downstream services.

he European Space Agency awarded Planetek Italia two of the four contracts, worth a total of EUR 42 million, for the development of downstream services derived from the EO data of the future Italian satellite constellation IRIDE.

On 12 April, the European Space Agency unveiled the objectives, investments and timetable of the IRIDE project, announcing the industrial teams entrusted with the development of the various components of what is defined one of Europe's most important space programme for Earth observation.

Launched as an initiative of the Italian Government, financed with PNRR funds, the IRIDE programme is managed by the European Space Agency (ESA) in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and has the goal of creating by 2026 an Earth observation satellite infrastructure designed to provide downstream services to national public administration.

In the Service Segment, the component of the programme that will develop Earth observation services for Central Public Administration and institutional users, Planetek Italia will be the leader of the two industrial teams, which will develop applications in the areas of water resource management, weather and climate, air quality, land management and land use, agriculture and forestry, for a total value of EUR 42 million.

To develop these services, Planetek Italia will lead two groupings of companies including e-Geos, Exprivia, Serco Italia, Arthur D. Little, SAM Consortium, CGI Italia, CMCC, MEEO and CIMA.

Planetek Italia will also be an active contributor in the two groupings of companies that will implement the Ground Motion and Emergency/Security services, led by e-Geos, leader of the other two contracts for the development of geoinformation services for central PA.

In the development of services for the Public Administration, Planetek will make available its thirty years of experience in the use and advanced processing of geoinformation data, gained in important Italian and European Earth observation space programmes, such as Copernicus and COSMO-SkyMed.

"The IRIDE programme represents a unique opportunity to modernise PA activities. Planetek Italia in the development of services collaborates with the best of the industry, including SMEs and innovative start-ups," says Giovanni Sylos Labini, CEO of Planetek Italia. "Planetek Italia brings to the programme the experience gained in thirty years of developing services for end users in many territorial and industrial applications, but also the most innovative technologies related to artificial intelligence, cloud computing in orbit and blockchain."

The IRIDE programme

IRIDE is one of Europe's largest space programme for Earth observation in low earth orbit (LEO) and represents a significant component of the NextGenerationEU dedicated to the development of space activities, supporting the ecological and digital transition. The programme will realise a system that includes all parts (upstream, downstream and services) to provide geospatial services at the national and European levels, both to the public administration and private customers.

IRIDE will consist of a constellation of satellites of various types and sizes combining SAR, optical, panchromatic, hyperspectral and infrared sensors. The constellation will be built in Italy and completed by 2026 with the support of ESA and ASI for a total value of EUR 1.1 billion allocated under the National Plan for Recovery and Resilience (PNRR). The constellation will help the Civil Protection Department and other administrations deal with hydrogeological instability and fires, protect coastlines, and monitor critical infrastructure, air quality and weather conditions.

Planetek Italia's role in IRIDE

Planetek Italia will play an active role in the design and development of different components of the system (upstream, downstream and services), acting both as prime contractor in different work lots and collaborating with the various industrial teams in charge of developing other components.

Other IRIDE components involving Planetek Italia:

  • Flight Operation Segment
  • Payload Data Ground Segment
  • Digital Marketplace
  • Land monitoring services for local PA
  • Land monitoring services for central PA

Learn more about the Italian IRIDE constellation:

Media Contact: Antonio Buonavoglia - Tel: +39 0809644200 - Email:


Answr is our modern and easy-to-use API-based platform for climate risk analytics anywhere on the planet. Over the past years, we have been analyzing the hidden geospatial complexity faced by businesses when it comes to risk assessment and monitoring. Nowadays, companies need to integrate processed analytics within their internal workflows easily and seamlessly, instead of the time-consuming traditional data purchase and integration.

And that’s where answr fits in: it provides a modern and simple API for integrating risk data, and it comes together with a - currently in beta testing - web application.

With more than 50 climate statistics (wind speed, temperature, precipitation flux, etc) and more than 20 risk data layers (flood, drought, heatwave, etc) covering the entire globe, you can now get deep risk knowledge and advanced analytics for building strategies, improving business decisions, and enhancing long-term resilience for your business and assets.

Visit answr and try it for free!


EO-PERSIST proposes the development of a single cloud-based system that will allow in a unique way the availability of collection, management, and exploitation of the available EO data suitable to permafrost studies. It brings together staff from academia and industry via a series of carefully designed secondments, establishing a unique fertile collaborative research and innovation environment to promote pioneering research and socioeconomic studies implementation in the Arctic.

In today’s changing climate it is of urgent importance to understand the adverse impacts of climate change on the local and regional Arctic natural environments, infrastructures, and industries. To this end, Earth Observation (EO) is the way forward, as it is extremely challenging to obtain long-term continuous ground observations. Recent advances in EO sensors, cloud computing, geographical information systems (GIS), and the field of socioeconomics provide unique opportunities to promote research and socioeconomic studies in the Arctic. Yet, despite their plethora, EO data are provided in a dispersed and unconnected way through several web platforms and in diverse formats, making their use difficult.

The system leverages existing services, datasets, and novel technologies to a) create a continuously updated ecosystem with EO datasets suitable for permafrost studies, b) promote methodological advances in permafrost studies by exploiting the huge volume of EO datasets and c) provide indicators directly connected with socioeconomic effects to permafrost dynamics. The experimental analysis will also be carried out with the system to showcase its use via five carefully selected and innovative Use Cases, that will serve as Key Performance Indicators of the system.

In the EO-PERSIST project, cloudeo AG participates in the implementation of the connectivity module of the EO-PERSIST platform to external sources and the front-end interface, as well as the calibration and validation of the EO-PERSIST system. Furthermore, in collaboration with the other partners of the consortium, cloudeo will contribute to the investigation of the relationship between dependent variables related to permafrost consequences and socioeconomic variables as independents such as GDP, population structure, employment etc. Cloudeo Hellas will participate in the economic impact assessment predictions incorporating spatial information, and regional and microeconomic data.

For more information about the EO-PERSIST project visit the CORDIS website.


NESTLER is a joint project between the EU and African member states designed to promote One-Health sustainable partnership. The project aims to bring together interdisciplinary technological advances to effectively monitor the well-being of animals, plants, and humans in a holistic approach. 

The complementarity between the stakeholders extends upon the ongoing initiatives from FARM2FORK strategies that have resulted in integrated software systems and solutions. The novelty of the NESTLER project lies in the development and integration of advanced remote sensing technologies. The project platform will develop software interfaces for ingesting satellite data sources along with video streams captured from unmanned aerial vehicles and other IoT devices installed for monitoring environmental and animal well-being. The large volume of data ingested into the platform will be subjected to additional processing to extract intuitive insights with the assistance of machine-learning algorithms and deep-learning network architectures. The extracted insights will be translated into predictive models affecting the One-Health sustainability programme using machine automation.

In the NESTLER project, cloudeo participates as a coordinator of the algorithm development for the high-speed, high-volume signal processing captured by NESTLER sensors, as well as of the development of an intuitive visualization toolkit for the extracted information delivered to the stakeholders of the project. Furthermore, cloudeo is responsible for interfacing with existing such services and providing intuitive information to the stakeholders on the expected impact of the climate on crop yield via developing algorithms to interpret the remote sensing data sources.

For more information about the NESTLER project visit the CORDIS website.

Cloudeo marketplace

Cloudeo operates a unique, vendor-independent, data-agnostic market platform through which customers can obtain professional geoinformation services from more than 60 leading national and international providers. Currently Cloudeo counts more than 75 services and products, from high resolution global basemaps to ultra-high resolution drone imagery, and from access to software and platfroms to e-learning services. 

These dedicated solutions address a variety of industries, such as agriculture, urban and landscape planning, oil&gas, telecommunications, and water management. Customers are provided with high resolution imagery, 3D terrain models, thematic maps, and sensor data for a wide range of applications, all of which can be combined with a large selection of software packages, analytics and IT that facilitate the processing of these data. Cloudeo is a solution to a fragmented and high-entry-barrier industry to better serve customers and partners who want to enter the market worldwide.

The platform hosts one of the largest portfolios of satellite and aerial imagery in the industry and can be found here:

The ESA program called EO - Science for Society sponsors projects to support the implementation of Earth Observations (EO) in a variety of industry sectors, by providing a roadmap to a best practice. Industry sectors so far covered by the ESA program include oil and gas (EO4OG), agro-insurance (EO4I), the mining of raw materials (EO4RM) and the currently ongoing Earth Observation for Arctic and Baltic shipping (EO4BAS).

During the execution of EO4BAS, maritime advisors, EO specialists and platform designers/developers from DNV, CGI and e-Geos will work closely with stakeholders in the shipping sector operating in the Baltic and Artic region to make EO user-friendly. EO4BAS aims to: 

  1. Map the needs in the shipping sector operating in the Baltic and Artic, for which the current and near future satellite technology and Earth observation products can provide a fit to purpose information.
  2. Define a roadmap to best practice usage of EO information products.
  3. Demonstrate accessibility and usability of fit to purpose EO information products through a DEMO platform. 

As of the end of April EO4BAS is nearing the completion of work package 1 (WP1), by identifying and consolidating the industry’s challenges, geoinformation requirements and needs. This was accomplished through stakeholder interviews, literature review and a workshop (held on the 22nd of March 2023, at the DNV headquarters in Høvik, Norway in a hybrid form).

With the approaching completion of WP 1, EO4BAS will soon enter work package 2 (WP2), which aims to identify mature EO-based information products responding to the identified challenges, needs and requirements of the industry. WP 2 will be led by DNV Barbara V. Scarnato, team lead and Principal Consultant/EO specialist. 

Further, WP3 will include a service mock-up, with development led by CGI and WP4 will include the development of a high-level best practice roadmap for the shipping industry sector, led by DNV. 

Keep an eye out on the EARSC best practice site where a project page for EO4BAS soon will be established, hosting the project's findings, updates, and news!

Barcelona, 13 December 2023

Original link: 

A new study by isardSAT and IRTA provides for the first time a method to classify irrigation systems (flood, sprinkler, drip) and not irrigated fields using remote sensing. This methodology, replicable to several agricultural areas, has mapped in Lleida (Spain) the ongoing modernization of the irrigation systems, which remained unseen within the available databases.

The study Classification of Different Irrigation Systems at Field Scale Using Time-Series of Remote Sensing Data offers a new approach that employs machine learning models (ML) that use time-series of remote sensing data in the Catalan region of Lleida (Spain). This methodology is replicable to other agricultural areas, and provides relevant information that can improve irrigation water management in the analysed sector. Such models have been able to distinguish different irrigation systems regardless of the crop types present in each field.

Map comparation of the irrigation systems declared by SIGPAC-DUN and isardSAT’s ResNet prediction. The ResNet results, in comparison to the SIGPAC-DUN data, show the current modernisation of the irrigation system (from flood irrigation to sprinkler) and the expansion of the drip irrigation in areas that were not irrigated before. IMAGE: isardSAT.

Different machine-learning algorithm models have been used for the study, along with remote sensing products from SMOS/SMAP, Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 satellites concerning evapotranspiration and soil mosture data. From the results obtained, maps of irrigation systems were created, delivering detailed information on the status and evolution of irrigation practices in an intensively cultivated region in Catalunya, Spain.

This machine-learning models have been trained with ground truth data from more than 300 fields across the area, collected during a field campaign in 2020. When compared to the field data, results from the ResNet model used show a high precision, and reveal some changes that were not registered in the official databases.

Results from the ResNet processing show a great precision compared to the field data. IMAGE: ResNet results (isardSAT).

Information about irrigation systems in use is difficult to gather, and it appears frequently outdated in the databases – when available. However, it is essential for irrigation districts in order to manage its water resources. Especially in the Mediterranean area, where climate change has extended and worsened drought periods.

Article citation:

G. Paolini, M. J. Escorihuela, O. Merlin, M. P. Sans and J. Bellvert, “Classification of Different Irrigation Systems at Field Scale Using Time-Series of Remote Sensing Data,” in IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, vol. 15, pp. 10055-10072, 2022, doi: 10.1109/JSTARS.2022.3222884.

For further information, please contact: 

Lluís Bassa Tomàs 
Science CommunicatorisardSAT

Parc Tecnològic
Marie Curie, 8-14
08042 Barcelona, Catalunya
+34 93 350 55 08


Since Open Cosmos was founded, its mission has been clear - to simplify access to space in order to solve some of the world's biggest challenges. Today, the company is one of the fastest-growing space infrastructure providers in the sector, providing fully managed satellite missions which incorporate design, build, launch and operations. 

Reliable, cost effective and fast, Open Cosmos is making it easier than ever for customers to access data and insights from space to make better, more informed decisions on Earth.

Their end-to-end space mission capability can be used for all domains, including IoT technology, Earth Observation, Telecommunications and PNT (Positioning, Navigation, Timing).

January 3rd 2023 saw the successful launch of Menut, the second satellite of the Catalan NewSpace strategy. Menut is a 6U form factor satellite featuring a high resolution multispectral imager. The earth observation payload monitors seven bands, from RGB to 3 red edges plus Near InfraRed with a 4.75 Ground Sampling Distance (GSD at 500 km) and a 19.5km swath. The data received from Menut will help to improve spatial planning and allow the data users to better understand the effects of the climate crisis worldwide.

In the following 12 months, Open Cosmos plans to launch and operate another 5 satellites in the form factor range between 6U to 16U.

Combining satellite imagery and next gen AI

Some of the most significant developments for Open Cosmos have been their work on edge computing and AI applications - all of which are designed to automate the process of data collection and dissemination. The upcoming Phisat-2 mission with ESA, for example, will include six different AI applications ranging from sat to map to automatic vessel detection. Combining earth observation imagery with onboard applications means real time decision making can take place within the platform, removing the process of manual decision making on the ground and delivering only the valuable insights that the customer requires.

Similarly MANTIS (Mission and Agile Nanosatellite for Terrestrial Imagery Services) a compact 12U satellite which is due to be launched in October this year, will provide remote sensing capabilities for the monitoring of natural resources. MANTIS is particularly suitable for energy and mining applications which are predominantly found in remote and hostile regions.

MANTIS will use a high-resolution optical payload with onboard recognition and change detection algorithms to enable the processing of data on the ground using the latest machine learning techniques.

DataCosmos - turning data into actionable intelligence

Critical to driving the sector forward is the ability to see more than simply what the image on screen is telling us, by advancing the technologies which allow advanced insights to be drawn from data.

Open Cosmos’ innovative data platform, DataCosmos, is a powerful interface which brings together different types of satellite imagery, data from complementary sources, results from algorithms and a roster of applications to make satellite imagery useful and valuable. Among numerous other applications, DataCosmos offers tools allowing customers to monitor the direction of travel of lava flow after a volcanic eruption, identify dangerous oil spills near desalination plants or even detect algal bloom locations.

All DataCosmos functionalities are available through APIs and can be embedded into automated decision making workflows, with DataCosmos applications running in the background as soon as new data becomes available. This ensures customers are always working from the latest information, by integrating timely, actionable and scalable insights into their business-critical processes.

Open Constellation  - launching the world’s biggest mutualised constellation 

Despite advancements in both upstream satellite infrastructure development and downstream technology, there is often a bottleneck between the two. Either the budget needed to fund an entire constellation is cost prohibitive, or the data generated from one or two satellites cannot provide the revisit times needed to form a rich picture. A solution was required that allowed institutions, organisations and governments to benefit from increased regularity of data without the need to invest in complex satellite infrastructure. OpenConstellation, the flagship offering from Open Cosmos,  is a mutualised satellite infrastructure, comprising 25 earth observation satellites. Using this shared capacity reduces overall costs and increases access to better quality, more frequent data. With more satellites in orbit, more areas can be covered more frequently, giving partners of the OpenConstellation a greater global coverage.

Open Orbit - End to end mission management

Open Cosmos truly is a one-stop shop for every single aspect of satellite missions. Their extensive experience in managing entire missions, from concept design through to manufacture, test and launch allows customers to focus on mission output. Alongside this, they work collaboratively with customers to develop tailored payloads, customised to the needs of the mission requirement. 

High performance, reliable satellite infrastructure can be developed in months, tested and manufactured on site, launched from a host of global locations and operated by experienced engineers to deliver the data and insights that make a difference to those organisations looking to solve global challenges.

If you have an idea you’d like to get into orbit simply, quickly and cost effectively - contact Open Cosmos today.


Wasat has launched Irriget ( – the EO service that provides growers with precise
information on current crop water requirements. Based on the analysis of Sentinel-2, Sentinel-3 and
meteorological data, it generates intuitive charts and maps facilitating the optimal irrigation decision-
A fusion of satellite thermal and optical data, and application of precise parameters for individual
crops enables monitoring of plant water needs. Algorithms based on machine learning produce maps
presenting the current condition of crops, actual evapotranspiration and water balance with 20 m
resolution. For calculation of potential evapotranspiration, local meteorological data are merged with
forecasts and modelled data, and all the processed data are resampled to a higher accuracy. The
resulting information determine the optimal irrigation strategy.
Irriget allows to indicate proper dates of irrigation and water doses that ensure optimal plant
development. Farmers can check on a graph the right water dose that should be applied on a field
with specific crop. There is a possibility to divide a field into narrow zones related to the actual
operation of a reel irrigation system and to treat each strip independently.
Farmers can save time and take full advantage of their irrigation equipment by watering crops with
doses calculated on the basis of actual evapotranspiration and water balance. The choice of water
quantities and periods of irrigation allows for the optimal coverage of plant needs and has a positive
impact on quantity and quality of yield.

Development of the service has been co-funded by the European Space Agency. Irriget has quickly
received positive feedback from Polish growers who irrigate potatoes and other field crops. In
January 2023 the organizers of Polagra Premiery International Agricultural Fair in Poznań awarded
Irriget with the Gold Medal – the prize which goes to products that are distinguished by a high level
of innovation and are appreciated by farmers and agronomists.
Growers usually start with free testing of Irriget and most of them subsequently subscribe to the
service. As of today, the complete set of functions is available only in Poland, but the work is
underway to expand the geographic coverage of the service.

An IoT sensor is great for collecting data on the state of air quality from the moment it is
deployed but that data tells us nothing about what happened previously to create the current
environmental conditions.
If data is to truly help us build more sustainable, safer, healthier and greener cities, we need
technologies that enable us to understand what has happened in the past and predict how a
situation might evolve in the future. It isn’t a lack of datasets standing in the way of doing
this but rather knowing how to use the ones that already exist.
In Europe and around the world, initiatives such as the EU’s Climate-Neutral & Smart Cities
mission, the Race to Zero and the Covenant of Mayors Climate-Adapt are helping to
galvanise climate action but nobody is under-estimating the scale of the challenge. What
these initiatives have in common is the need for constant monitoring of a city’s territory and
environment to assess the current situation and check progress. Moreover, this monitoring
needs to be put in context with information from decades past to gain the necessary deeper
This was the aim when developing the climate change adaptation and mitigation platform
Latitudo 40, that allows cities to be constantly monitored. It uses raw data generated by earth
observation satellites, combined with artificial intelligence (AI), to understand how the
earth’s systems have changed and predict how they will evolve in the future. It is designed to
provide a more sustainable and resilient approach to urban climate action.
In our specialist field of satellite remote sensing, we see a lot of valuable data available, but
cities are using only a small portion of it to support key decision-making. To change this, we
combine data from satellites with data produced within the city and, through a fusion of the
two, create information models that help inform urban planners where to invest money and
resources when it comes to protecting and futureproofing their cities.
A typical example is our dataset for estimating urban thermal comfort, which brings together
information on urban heat island areas, tree canopy (or lack of it) and the age distribution of
the resident population. A digital representation of a city can be created in a matter of hours
that quickly highlights and offers insight into key climate and sustainability issues.
Satellite technologies are now several decades old but, due to their complexity, have never
reached a mainstream level of usage in the market. Image search and image processing
requires specific skills and complex processing systems that aren’t typically available within
cities. To make the best possible use of the information potential of these images, we have
developed what we call “complexity simplification,” a cloud-based processing workflow that
automates image search, analysis, and interpretation.
Computer vision and AI algorithms complete the process by extracting the parameters of
greatest interest to cities and presenting a simple representation of the evolution of the urban
scenarios over time. 

Crucially, unlike the aforementioned IoT sensor, satellite imagery allows for a historical
representation of the city, almost a time machine that facilitates an understanding of the
starting- and end-point and what happened in between, as well as continuous and frequent
monitoring into the future. 
Thanks to satellite imagery, we can easily understand whether there has been land
consumption and how much the relationship between green areas and urbanisation has
changed; the state of urban green spaces and how they contribute to mitigating environmental
phenomena; and what phenomena have triggered a specific event, such as a flood or the
failure of urban infrastructure in the past, and activate the best monitoring systems to prevent
them occurring in the future.
It’s one thing having the data and tools, though, and quite another ensuring they are
accessible to those who need them. If they are to be truly effective, they need to be embedded
in the daily operations of urban planners and decision-makers just like spreadsheets and
This thinking underpinned the development of Latitudo 40, which we describe as “a digital
information factory in the cloud”. It can be accessed by a standard web browser and the
processing made available through APIs that allow easy integration with existing spatial
information systems. No special knowledge of data processing and geospatial analysis
technologies is required and analyses provide a representation of the city with an easy-to-
understand map, graphs and automated reports. 
From this information, cities can set specific sustainability goals such as increasing green
space per inhabitant, reducing the incidence of urban heat islands per inhabitant, and
improving climate comfort in metropolitan suburbs. Every city can verify these goals and
achievements via monitoring.
Our experience has made us realise that when it comes to data collection and reporting, city
managers often allocate high-end budgets for consulting services that can stop with the
creation of a static product. What’s needed going forward is a more agile approach facilitated
by business models such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) and backed by real-time, accessible
data and services. Only then will we be able to turn data into actionable information and use
it to build more sustainable, resilient safer, healthier and greener cities.