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Can you tell us about the Group on Earth Observations (GEO)?

The Group on Earth Observations is an intergovernmental partnership working together to improve the availability, access and use of Earth observations (EO) for a sustainable planet.

GEO is made up of 105 member governments including the European Commission, and a global GEO community that brings hundreds of the world’s leading Earth observation organizations together including practitioners, policy makers and decision makers.

Our vision is a future where decisions and actions are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations.

We know that open data can help to drive better social, economic and environmental policies. That’s why GEO is focused on open EO data to help support three global policy frameworks, including the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Through the GEO Work Programme of over 70 unique and sustained activities, GEO supports decision makers with data and knowledge derived from Earth observations. We encourage broader participation from nations, with support from international organizations, the private sector, research and academia, and individuals to help scale up the impacts of the GEO community.

How does GEO work with and engage the commercial sector?

GEO welcomes engagement from the commercial sector in support of its mission and vision.

Commercial products and services based on Earth observations provide important public and private benefits, they foster scientific and technological innovation and spur economic development.

In turn, the GEO community provides an opportunity to connect with and learn from its expansive Earth observation expert and user communities, including thousands of practitioners, policy makers and decision makers worldwide.

Earlier this year, GEO announced a new GEO Associates Category as the way for commercial and non-governmental, not-for-profit and civil society organizations to join governments and international organizations as official collaborators of GEO.

Avenues of engagement include participation in and sponsorship of GEO events, contributions to the GEO Work Programme and providing open data or free software and services to the GEO community; paid software and services is a direct discussion between commercial sector organisations and GEO community members.

Commercial sector organisations may wish to work with the GEO community around the world and as such, there are regional GEO entities working on the global Earth observation topics, including AfriGEO, AmeriGEO, AOGEO and EuroGEO. 

At the upcoming GEO Week in Canberra, Australia, a new approach has been designed specifically for the commercial sector, called  the Industry Track. It is a key opportunity to engage the commercial sector to help drive the development of sustainable commercial Earth observation solutions and products to a number of Ministers at the GEO Week Ministerial Summit and the global GEO Community.

The inclusion of a dedicated Industry Track this year is recognition by the broader GEO community that not only can the commercial sector support the work of GEO, but that GEO needs to be more proactive in creating opportunities for the commercial sector to piggyback off the work of governments to create new products and services.

What can European EO companies learn from other EO companies in other regions of the world?

One of the many strengths of GEO is the co-creation of locally relevant solutions. Through the work of our four Regional GEO initiatives (AfriGEO, AmeriGEO, AOGEO and EuroGEO) the GEO community works to ensure that solutions and programmes are adapted to a diverse range of local and regional contexts.

Through engagement with the GEO Work Programme, European EO companies can help to develop and implement projects, leveraging the expertise of over 125 Participating Organizations, 105 GEO Members  and numerous research institutions and commercial sector contributors from around the globe.

For example, European companies are engaged in the work of the GEO Capacity Building in North Africa, Middle East, Balkans, Black Sea (GEO-CRADLE) programme.  Through the GEO-CRADLE Networking Platform, Earth observation communities can discover stakeholders of interest by location, thematic area and view their profile and data. Currently it hosts information for 29 countries with 268 online profiles featured.  This initiative is strongly motivated by the need to capitalise, sustain and scale up the results of communities that are working in the region.

In addition, GEO-CRADLE manages the Regional Data Hub (RDH) to provide access to region-related datasets, portals and services developed by a regional network of raw data providers, intermediate users/service providers, end-users from Industry, and Academic and Public Sector from the Region of Interest. The Regional Data Hub is the focal node in the region in the context of GEOSS and Copernicus implementation.

The next GEO Week will be in Canberra,  Australia from 4-9 November 2019. Why should European EO companies join this event?

GEO Week is one of the world’s largest gatherings of the global Earth observation community.

From 4-9 November 2019, Ministers from GEO’s 105 member governments, business leaders, heads of international organizations and leading experts will meet in Canberra, Australia for GEO Week 2019 and the GEO Ministerial Summit.

As mentioned, the upcoming GEO Week 2019 will include a dedicated Industry Track for the world’s leading tech, space and geospatial companies to come together with businesses that need Earth observation-enabled digital products. A series of events worth attending in its own right, the track will enable businesses to promote their capabilities, to network and create new partnerships, and to make deals and announcements.

Led by the Australian Space Agency, with support Australia’s national science and technology agency CSIRO, the Industry Track will include the GEO Week Exhibition, networking events, pitch sessions and the facilitation of bilateral meetings.

European EO companies are invited to share experiences and learn from others as we explore how investments in Earth observation can deliver major returns on investment to our economies and communities.

We’ll be discussing a wide range of issues, including the future of work, trade in digital services, privacy in a big data world, and the sharing economy. We’ll also be providing a platform to highlight European Earth observation capabilities and announce new actions and investments. This is an unparalleled chance to make new connections and partnerships with the global EO community.

* This article is provided by PASCO Corporation, member of the Japan Space Systems (JSS) under the framework of the MoU between JSS and EARSC signed in 2016.

1. About our company:

PASCO CORPORATION is a Japanese private company, providing geospatial information services to the global market.

2. Available Data: ALOS-2

PASCO distributes data and images acquired by ALOS – 2 (Advanced Land Observing Satellite 2: Daichi-2) satellite which is owned by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (hereinafter referred to as JAXA).


ALOS-2 is a satellite which is equipped with unique L-band radar sensor "PALSAR - 2". L-band has a characteristic that radio waves pass through vegetation and part of it reaches the ground surface. It is effective for the analysis or monitoring in vegetated area, for the purpose of Disaster or infrastructure monitoring and more.

Data is distributed through Global partners.

3. Next Generation Data: ALOS-3

The ALOS-3 is a successor of the optical mission of the Satellite “DAICHI” (ALOS). The new satellite will achieve improved ground resolution (0.8 m) while observing a wide-swath (70 km) by a larger sensor with higher performance compared to DAICHI. ALOS-3 is planned to be launched in 2020. In the ALOS-3 project, PASCO will operate the satellite, distribute the data and provide related services.


Entering the European market with our EO data, we are keen to establish global partners. For any interest in collaboration, feel free to reach out to us to the contact below:

Contact us :
Hajime Zama - Manager, Business promotion section, Satellite business division.

Editiorial by Geoff Sawyer - Secretary General of EARSC

I am really pleased and proud to say that EARSC was awarded bronze place as the European Association of the year in the category for under 30 employees. This achievement is made even greater when we consider that we were entered in the category of “Association with less than 10 employees”, but mysteriously, the category was changed during the evaluations and we were beaten by two Associations with around 20 employees each. So really we are the golden European Association of the year (with under 10 employees)!

This achievement was based upon the change in business model of EARSC and the way we are able to offer more and better services to members as a result of winning a number of key projects. I mentioned 2 of these key projects in my last editorial in January which support the delivery of a new service from EARSC called “Research to Business”. These are now awarded and so I can tell you that they are eShape and PARSEC and both are aimed at supporting very young or formative companies to develop their business ideas.

The project eShape was previously called EuroGEOSS Showcases and has the goal to develop the European contribution to GEOSS. It is a large project with 55 partners and good luck to the co-ordinator (Armines) who have the heavy task to keep us all in line! The EARSC role as a work-package leader is focused on the market side and to help promote the 27 pilot showcases to European and International policy makers and to commercial business sectors. With our good partner Evenflow, we shall also put together a sustainability booster to give guidance to the pilots meeting needs for market, legal, financial or technical information and resources to develop the business concept.

We have also secured some funds to keep in reserve to “on-board” new pilots during the project. This is part of the planning to make the venture sustainable and to avoid starting the project with the 27 pilots and ending 4 years later with the same 27 pilots. At annual intervals, new proposals will be reviewed and a number will be selected to be brought into the project under the sustainability booster. It will be a challenge to manage and we look forward to getting going in early May.

We shall be co-ordinating the project PARSEC which hopefully will be more manageable with only 10 partners. Here the goal is even more direct and €2.5m - 50% of the budget - will be awarded to business ideas coming through a 2 stage filter. In the first round, 100 researchers or entrepreneurs will each receive €10k to take their idea further. The 100 will be selected by peer voting ie all the applicants (up to 300) will all vote on each others’ ideas with the top 100 going through to the second stage.

In the second round, the 100 winners will be supported with legal, technical and market advice and encouraged to team up with others with complementary capabilities. They will compete for 15 awards of €100k to develop their business idea. Further support measures will be available in the form of data and technical resources and it would be fantastic if all 15 businesses were to make it successfully to market.

These two projects are foundations of the programme which I refer to as “research to business”. We plan to guide the (young?) entrepreneurs along the path to success drawing upon the EO services ecosystem comprising the community managed by EARSC. I shall be happy to answer any questions about how to access either of these programmes and more news will follow as we start to organise webinars and workshops to promote these great opportunities.

The RUS Service is the “New Expert Service for Sentinel Users” funded by the European Commission, managed by the European Space Agency, and operated by CS and its partners Serco, Noveltis and Along-track

The Copernicus Research and User Support (RUS) Service celebrates this month its two years of operations, with results beyond expectancy.

To date more than 1,000 users benefit from the RUS cloud resources and dedicated support provided by the experts of the RUS HelpDesk, for free. In parallel, more than 20 live webinars have been held on a variety of applications and Sentinel datasets. Each webinar aimed to demonstrate how Copernicus data can be accessed and processed to derive meaningful information for various monitoring applications (e.g., land, ocean, risk assessment, climate). The video recordings of these webinars are available on the RUS Youtube channel.

The RUS Service organized also more than 20 face-to-face hands-on training sessions over Europe. These sessions allowed participants to handle open source image processing solutions like ESA SNAP software.

For more info and the social media channels visit the website:

The RUS team will be present at the ESA Living planet Symposium in Milan, Italy (12-17 May). You are welcome to visit us to visit us at the CS and Serco booths.

Copernicus Sentinel 2 image processed by ImagineEarth thanks to RUS support                 

Planetek Italia is organizing the “Back To The FutureEO” Conference, which will happen on May 16th, 2019 from 16.00 h. to 19.00, in the context of the ESA's Living Planet Symposium 2019 next 13-17 May 2019 in Milan, Italy.

The Conference is promoted by Planetek Italia, as part of its 25 years anniversary celebration agenda, and is co-organized with ESA and EARSC.

“Back To The FutureEO” Conference

Starting from "the PAST" and moving towards "the FUTURE” of Earth Observation, the conference will host inspirational talks from ESA, EARSC, Planetek and industry leaders.

A journey inside Planetek’s 25 years of experience in EO and cooperation with ESA, and a glance at the most recent developments on geo-analytics, Artificial Intelligence, block chain, Sustainable Development Goals and satellite onboard data handling and services development.

A round table led by EARSC will host industry representatives to illustrate experiences and challenges concerning the future of Earth Observation. ESA D-EOP, Josef Aschbacher, will hold closing speech of the conference.

Planetek will be present at LPS 2019 with a booth and with some scientific presentations highlighting its recent innovations in Earth Observation.

Visitors of Planetek booth n. 36 will discover the SpaceStream and Info-as-a-Service concepts, Planetek's way to imagine, design and develop disruptive solutions changing the way geospatial information is provided to users. A champion in this field is the award winning Rheticus® cloud-based platform, which delivers EO based geoanalytics to several industries.

The Living Planet Symposium is held every three years and focuses on how Earth Observation contributes to science and society, and how disruptive technologies and actors are changing the traditional Earth Observation landscape, which is also creating new opportunities for public and private sector interactions.

Register now to participate at LPS19 and meet us at:

“Back To The Future EO” Conference, Thursday, 16 May 2019, h 16,00 – 19,00

Agorà Giardino - Living Planet Symposium 2019 - Milan Italy.

Celebrating 25 years in business

Throughout 2019, Planetek Italia will celebrate its 25-year long history in business by promoting a series of events at national and international levels. Stay tuned with Planetek’s activities and support us with your likes and comments, following #Planetek25 and #BackToTheFutureEO hashtags on our channels:

Planetek Hellas, acting as the prime in the submitting company grouping, together with Planetek Italia, CMCC, KSAT and Creotech Instruments, has been awarded the MARINE-EO PCP Phase 2 project for the design, development, testing and demonstration of the Lot 1, titled: SATOCEAN - Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring and Climate Change.

The consortium led by Planetek Hellas started the Phase 1 of the PCP (Design) on July 2018 and in October 2018 was evaluated with the highest ranking, among the three consortiums that continued in Phase 2 (Prototype).

MARINE–EO is “the first Earth observation pre-commercial procurement in Europe, cofounded by the H2020 program” aiming at procuring the development of demand-driven EO-based services, adopted on open standards, bringing incremental or radical innovations in the field of maritime awareness and leveraging on the existing Copernicus Services and other products from the Copernicus portfolio. (

The Marine Environment Monitoring is a complex cross cutting area where Earth Observation (EO) satellites and more specifically, Copernicus Sentinel’s provide major contribution. This complexity and diverse topics that need to be monitored and explored can be summarized in the following three use cases:

1. Marine Environmental Status in Hot Spots;

2. Fish Farms: Detection of Fish Farm Threats;

3. Detection of Vessels and Icebergs in the Arctic zone.

The three use cases are the integral part of the SATOCEAN (Lot 1) activity developed by Planetek Hellas consortium and will be designed and realized by exploiting the competences and expertise of the consortium to provide the services, Planetek for the WQ and aquaculture services (Rheticus Marine) and KSAT for the vessels and iceberg identification and routes. All the services will be implemented through a complex and advanced system based on Creotech’s Data and Information Access Services (DIAS) platform.

The first two use cases refer to the monitoring hot spots in coastal marine environment. The third use case refers to the maritime safety with regards to ice shipping route, vessel detection and iceberg monitoring.

Coastal and Marine Environment contributes to water quality monitoring and to environmental risk assessment. Specifically, Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) provides long time-series of in-situ (physical and biochemical) and remote sensing (ocean colour and SST) products and data that feed coastal areas with important information. This information is vital for monitoring the status of coastal areas, adhering to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), and other related products. Using CMEMS data, Copernicus Sentinel imagery, available in-situ measurements and specialized hydro-physical models, the consortium will:

  • Provide a wide set of EO based products from Copernicus under free and open license and data obtained from other freely available satellite missions in order to obtain relevant parameters on the quality of sea areas of interest. In this context, the use of advanced modelling will improve spatial resolution reaching values less than 1km x 1km. (First and second case histories)
  • Provide innovative monitoring information and routing services to support involved authorities as well as ships navigators on board the ship and private industries in their activities of monitoring, navigation in or near ice and ice defence in the Arctic zone. (Third case history)
  • Develop innovative interfaces aiming in making easy and immediate the access to the relevant information to the different users communities interested by the information services provided. (all case histories)

For further information visit

In April 2019 Wasat launched service: IDE environment, based on the popular Jupyter Notebooks technology, focused on processing of EO data in the cloud. Users gain access both to data sets and to functions useful for their processing, visualization and sharing. The main advantage that distinguishes this product from other tools is, apart from using ready-made algorithms, the ability to quickly and easily create users’ own algorithms or scripts. As a result, the data processing can be controlled strictly at every stage and in a formula adapted to any user needs. Although the basic programming language in Jupyteo is Python, it is possible to create code in other languages by launching additional engines offered by the integrated Jupyter Notebooks functionality. Jupyteo by default also offers the ability to create scripts in R, Scilab, Bash and indirectly - by launching the "magic cells" technology – it gives access to JavaScript programming capabilities.

Using the Jupyteo environment comes down to logging in to a Jupyteo account and automatically launching the web service. A user gains access to his own separate virtual environment based on Docker virtualization technology. There is a fully functional application at the user’s disposal along with the disk space for data storage. Work can be started by opening one of many provided scripts that are called notebooks in this system or by creating one’s own script from scratch. Regardless of the chosen programming language, an algorithm can be divided into parts called cells, each of which can be run separately. The created script source code contained in a single cell can be run online by issuing the "run cell" command or pressing the Ctrl-Enter combination. It is also possible to run all cells at once as the entire programme, depending on the user's preferences. The result of processing from each cell is visible directly below it and is presented in a text or graphic form, depending on what value is given as an output. The programme created this way can be saved as a script in a *.ipynb file, whose internal format is JSON. It will be saved to a user's account and can be launched at any time or downloaded to a home computer.

The map component is a feature that distinguishes Jupyteo and adapts it to the needs of community interested in processing EO data. The side panel on the right side of the screen is divided into tabs. One of them provides a map, which allows to search EO data and to automatically present the results of the processing. Its functionality has been taken from popular GIS systems. Thus, any result of the algorithm in a form of spatial data can be added to a map on an ongoing basis. These can be raster data formats like PNG, JPG, BMP, vector formats such as GeoJSON or services like TMS or WMS. A user has an option to create, launch and share his own WPS service that processes data and sends results to a specific location or to use the results of data processing services from other providers.

Another useful feature of Jupyteo is the ability to create code snippets that can be reused at any time after saving. A user can find a set of ready-made snippets in the "Snippets" tab on the side panel.

Jupyteo also provides the ability to search spatial data services by using functions placed in the side panel toolbar. After indicating the area and entering search parameters, a user will get a result in the form of ranges of found materials visualized as a graphic layer on the map. Each object representing the single range has attributes that allow to read metadata of the material and download or connect it to one’s own algorithm.

As already mentioned, a user of Jupyteo gets his own virtual environment, which gives the possibility of quite extensive interference and control over the installed software components. It is possible to switch to terminal view at any time, which gives direct access to the virtual system shell. One then can add or remove libraries on which Jupyteo is based and customize the system's functionality to suit user's needs. A user can also make other changes within the installed applications or additions of the system platform itself and configure it for strictly defined needs. Jupyteo has a built-in text editor through which a user can make changes to any file saved on his account. All files can be freely downloaded, placed on the server or shared with other users.

Jupyteo is intended for advanced users since, due to the programming-based approach, it offers immense opportunities to work with data, to process and modify it. Thanks to an access to the shell it is also highly flexible, allowing free configuration. Although it is an online tool placed in a virtual operating system and accessible via a web browser, working with it is similar to working with a desktop application.

If you want to use the service, please go to and register using your Github account. As part of the Jupyteo offer, a user can get free trial access to a fully functional platform. In near future a paid version will be available allowing unlimited use of the Jupyteo environment.

1) Tell us a bit about the history of your company

SatSense is a spinout of the Earth and Environmental department at the University of Leeds. Their technology is based upon many years of research from internally renowned InSar experts Professor Tim Wright and Professor Andy Hooper. The company attracted seed funding in 2018 from Mercia Fund Managers, Unipart Rail and the University of Leeds

2) Describe your services and products:

SatSense has developed algorithms that convert Sentinel-1 InSar data to ground movement data. This data is stored online and is automatically updated every 6 days. Interfaces are available for direct access to this data and application programming interfaces have been developed to allow for integration with our customers’ applications. Our target markets are Property Conveyancing, Insurance, Geotechnical and Environmental consultants and Infrastructure owners such as rail and road networks and water utilities.

3) What makes you different from other EO companies?

The resolution of data is considerably higher than from other companies utilising Sentinel-1 readings. Further our data is automatically updated every 6 days making it applicable as a preventative maintenance solution for large asset owners.

4) What are your future projects?

Our plans are to expand our coverage across the whole of Europe and utilise artificial intelligence techniques to further improve our predictive maintenance solutions.

5) What would be your advice to someone who wants to start their own EO company?

Research the applicability of your invention to target markets as companies need to understand the value proposition of your technology and if this is a new capability plan on having to educate your customers on its benefits before achieving revenue.

Found out more here: