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EDISOFT has today the operational capability of providing Near Real Time (NRT) Vessel Detection and Classification services using satellite SAR imagery and other non EO sources like AIS and VMS.

EDISOFT has today the operational capability of providing Near Real Time (NRT) Vessel Detection and Classification services using satellite SAR imagery and other non EO sources like AIS and VMS.

EDISOFT’s service chain encompasses 4 major blocks: data acquisition, data extraction, value addition and delivery.

Data Acquisition

In terms of satellite data, the service provided by EDISOFT uses level 1B SAR imagery received from different satellite missions, like ENVISAT and ERS-2. EDISOFT is also today adding the capability to use RADARSAT-1 and plans in the near future the incorporation of new missions like COSMO-SKYMED, TerraSAR-X and ALOS. This level 1B imagery is received in NRT by FTP from different Ground Stations. Regarding non EO data and for value addition purposes, EDISOFT is receiving in NRT AIS and VMS data. The VTS data is used for validation and is also received in NRT. In terms of ancillary data, it is being used meteorological data from the MET office.

Data Extraction

EDISOFT uses its own SAR vessel detection and classification software to automatically detect all the vessels identified on SAR imagery. In addition, for each detected vessel, the software provides classification information like the size, speed and heading (part of this information can only be derived when the ship’s wake is available). The output of this software is a report containing general information, like the date/time of acquisition or the satellite data used, together with all the detection and classification information. The software automatically generates this report in two formats (text file and a Google Earth .kmz file). In addition, when the detection and classification information is available, a software component is automatically activated, placing the applicable information in a structured way in the EDISOFT EO Vessel Detection and Classification database. It is possible to query all the information reported in a given area and in a given period from the referred database.

Figure 1: EdiVDC – EDISOFT vessel detection and classification software

In what concerns AIS, EDISOFT has developed and installed a system which receives in Real Time all AIS messages, namely the messages 1, 2 and 3 (position reports) and messages 5 (ship static and voyage related data). When new information is received, a software component is automatically activated which parses the AIS information received and places the applicable information in a structured way in the EDISOFT Non EO database. It is possible to query all the AIS information that was reported in a given area and in a given period from the referred database.

Regarding VTS, EDISOFT receives in Real Time all the ships identified in a given area at the time of the acquisition. When a given vessel is detected by the VTS radar and it is also transmitting AIS, the information is automatically consolidated and the information provided is a merge of all the information coming from both the AIS and the VTS radar. When new information is received, a software component is automatically activated which parses the VTS information received and places the applicable information in a structured way in the EDISOFT Non EO database. From the referred database it is possible to query all the VTS information that was reported in a given area and in a given period.

In what concerns VMS, EDISOFT receives, also in real time, all the VMS data transmitted in a given area. When new information is received, a software component is automatically activated which parses the VMS information received and places the applicable information in a structured way in the EDISOFT Non EO database. From the referred database it is possible to query all the VMS information that was reported in a given area and in a given period.

Value Addition

In what concerns value addition, EDISOFT concentrates in different databases all the collected non EO information and the EO Vessel Detection and Classification information performed for the different satellite acquisitions. The integration of all this data in a structured way is by itself the start of the value addition. Using as input the referred databases, EDISOFT’s correlating software is activated when all the applicable information extraction is performed for a given satellite acquisition. This software will be responsible firstly for interpolating the non EO information available in the database to the exact date/time of a given satellite acquisition. Then the software will automatically find matches between the vessels identified in an EO SAR image and the available non EO information. This match is performed within a set of criteria that can be configured, like the circle radius within which a match can be considered. When the correlating software finds a match between a vessel detected through a SAR image and stored AIS or VMS data (meaning that the detected vessel is transmitting either AIS or VMS), it classifies it as non suspect vessel. If, on the other side, the correlating software does not find a match, it classifies it as a suspect vessel. The correlating software generates a report in two formats, text file and a Google Earth .kmz file. The report contains, in addition to general data, the following information:

• Non suspect vessels: all the vessels detected by SAR which are transmitting AIS or VMS;
• Suspect vessels: all the vessels detected by SAR which are nor transmitting neither AIS nor VMS;
• False positives: all vessels which were detected by SAR but which were not detected by the VTS radar;
• False negatives: all vessels which were not detected by SAR but which were detected by AIS, VTS or VMS.

Delivery

All the reports generated are automatically produced in two formats, text files and a Google Earth .kmz files.

Figure 2: EDISOFT service in the Portuguese Coast (Google Earth automatic output)

The products generated by EDISOFT within this service are sent in NRT by e-mail to the service users (and when needed, or requested, by FAX and phone). In addition, EDISOFT has available a GIS enabled “Vessel Detection and Classification web portal” where, for all the authorised users, the results of the service are made available.

Figure 3: EDISOFT Vessel Detection and Classification web portal

Conclusions

EDISOFT has in place an operational Near Real Time capability to provide to its users Vessel Detection and Classification products, together with value addition through correlation with non EO data like AIS and VMS data. All the service results are provided to the users through a GIS enabled web portal where all the services and correspondent results are available for navigation and for download. This capability has been exercised during 2007 for the Portuguese Users in the scope of the GSE GMES MARISS project.

CONTACT
Bárbara Guerra Manso, Head of Business Development & Marketing
Edisoft, S.A
Rua Quinta dos Medronheiros – Lazarim
Apartado 382 Monte de Caparica
2826-801 Caparica Portugal
Tel.: (+351) 212 945 900
Fax: (+351) 212 945 999
Mobile: (+351) 93 235 1618
E-mail: barbara.manso@edisoft.pt

CLS (Collecte Localisation Satellites)

CLS (Collecte Localisation Satellites) LLC was created in 1986, its main shareholders being CNES (the French Space Agency, 55%), IFREMER (The French Marine Institute, 15%), and a group of Banks for 30%. In addition to its staff of 215 at the Headquarters in Toulouse and 60 in the subsidiaries and offices worldwide (USA, Peru, Indonesia, Chile, Australia, Korea, Japan, Russia), most of which are doctors and engineers, CLS offers a wide network of agents and distributors on all continents, and serves a total of over 80 countries.

CLS main missions

  • Satellite payload operations
  • Promotion, marketing of products and services derived from satellite-based information
  • Ground segment design, installation and operations dedicated to the study and protection of environment through location, data collection and remote sensing satellite-borne systems.

Satellite systems operated by CLS

  • Argos: environmental geolocation and data collection
  • Doris: accurate orbit of satellites and high resolution ground positioning
  • Topex-Poseïdon, ERS2, Jason, Envisat: altimetry data
    NOAA: temperature
  • Sarsat: Search and Rescue, for the account of the French Maritime Affairs and Civil Aviation Authority within the French area of responsibility

CLS main services

  • Argos: to date, more than 17,000 Argos transmitters are active worldwide. These are deployed to study and protect the environment within the following fields:
    • Oceanography: study of currents
    • Meteorology: recording, transmission and worldwide distribution of in situ meteorological data
    • Hydrology: monitoring of hydrological basins, water resources monitoring
    • Wildlife: tracking of animal migrations, protection of endangered species
    • Marine resources management: turnkey systems for fisheries surveillance dedicated to fisheries administrations
    • Dangerous goods: monitoring of transportation, of industrial and natural risks
  • Doris: calculation of accurate satellite orbits (Spot 2*, *Spot 4, Topex, Jason, Envisat, and soon Spot 5, Helios 2 and Cryosat)
  • Processing and distribution of remote sensing data for the fishing industry, shipping industry or the oceanographic research institutes:
    • Altimetry
    • Sea Surface Temperature
    • Ocean color
    • Meteorology
    • Marine transportation routing
    • Radar: detection of targets at sea, detection of intentional or accidental oil pollutions
    • Operational surveillance of illegal fishing activity
    • Detection and tracking of icebergs and oil slicks

CLS also designs and develops ground segments for national or international space agencies, within the implementation of new satellite systems or the refurbishment of existing systems.

CLS (Collecte Localisation Satellites)

8/10 rue Hermès,
31520 Ramonville St Agne, France
tél : 05 61 39 47 00
E-mail info@cls.fr
Website www.cls.fr

Ensuring the continuity of surveillance from open seas to coastal areas.

CLS

Abstract

Since 11/09, threats characteristics evolved: high seas can be viewed as the scene for illegal activities potentially dangerous for homeland security: drug traffic, illegal immigration, weapons traffic, or bases for terrorist attacks. From the policy point of view, Open Ocean is a vast territory relatively lawless and less monitored. Concerned of such weaknesses, international bodies, Europe and Member States started thinking about setting up capacities and policies to support an improved and global security and safety at sea, enhancing surveillance missions for prevention and preparedness against potential threats, enhancing also response at sea, while embracing the environmental dimension of security at sea also.

Going through threats understanding, missions setting up, Space provides clearly core capacities that can support the improvement of maritime security contributing globally to all classical phases of security issues: prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

R&D, Pilot projects in EU already demonstrated and are currently going on to demonstrate the benefit of space coupled and integrated with other “short range” capacities to contribute to maritime security both in the field of Earth Observation, Telecommunications and data collection or localization. Some Member States passed the step already to use it operationally to support i.e. control of illegal fishing or maritime traffic surveillance but there are few.

Big challenges are de facto remaining in front of Research, Industry, Services operators but also Stakeholders in order for Space to be defined as one of the major “instrument” for an improved global maritime security capacity serving lives and goods protection all over the ocean:

  • Development of high performances capacities
  • Integration of space data and other sources of data into a combination of capacities & systems supporting operational user infrastructures and operational procedures
  • Guaranty of continuity of service from space capacities and data availability/integrity
  • Sensibilisation of stakeholders in supporting the setting up of space capacities for maritime security and use at international, regional up to national and local levels.

The purpose of this presentation will be to illustrate operational key requirements addressed by maritime security, answering both to public and private concerns that could be served by space, illustrate the discussion with leading edge solutions currently developed in Europe and elaborate on technological challenges that the space industry should face to answer to the maritime sector of activity.

Introduction

The European economy depends from maritime transport: 90% of the oil & gas of the European consumption reaches Europe by sea. 70% of the European trades go by sea1.

The maritime domain is a key issue for economy: place for international maritime transport, but also for present & future energy supply capacities (offshore, wind farms), for marine resources exploitation2.

Quarter 1, 2006 63 piracy attacks registered at the International Maritime Bureau, in Asia and West Africa.
Nov 2005 Seabourn Spirit, cruiser attacked in Somalia – 312 people dead
Feb 2004 the MV Super ferry attacked near Manila
Feb 2003 Planned attacks interrupted in the Hormuz detroit
End 2002 TECTO Limburg Tanker attacked close to Yemen
June 2002 planned maritime attack in Gibraltar straits stopped
Oct 2000vUSS Cole destroyer attacked by Al Qaeda close to Yemen

Given its 90 000 km long shores and the level of the economic and social activities attached to it, Europe proves particularly vulnerable when it comes to deal with this new hardly visible highly unpredictable threats.

From a security point of view, main requirements from Member States and Europe are simple:

  • To protect their economic interests whatever their location and route thus all over the globe, thus at long range
  • To prevent from potential threats that could reach European coasts by detecting suspect activities and react before the incident could occur
  • To ensure that coastal areas remain environmentally friendly and safe from threats.

Such requirements for maritime security are mainly driven by institutional actors from September, 11and their requirements are pre-eminent to define homeland security initiatives in Europe, calling for known applications such as Illegal immigration control, blue border control, fight against massive attacks, illegal fishing…
From a policy point of view, international conventions have been defined (UNCLOS, SOLAS, International Ship and Port Security code) to regulate maritime activities but mainly for safety purposes. Duties have been put mainly on flag states but it does not prevent EU from flags of convenience being reluctant to apply security measures and largely collaborate.

Remaining weak in this field, some Member States have already signed multi lateral agreements to support enhanced maritime surveillance and joint operations (Bonn agreement, EQUASIS, SUA convention, …) and designed some regional or sectoral tools (SafeSeaNet, CinCarm for customs, SafetyAtSea, …). EC has already started to implement EU agencies with maritime responsibilities (European Maritime Safety Agency, FRONTEX blue borders, TAXUD, Community Fisheries Control Agency…) and is keen to study the interest of cooperating with the defence in a dual mode but for civil security purposes.

At the international level, in IMO (International Maritime Organization), regulation to implement LRIT (Long Range Identification and Tracking) of vessels is under discussion by Member States in order to monitor and control all traffic within 200 up 2000 miles from coasts either by port states, coastal states or flag states.

In Europe, the Maritime Policy Task force has stated in a draft agenda that EU cooperation shall be made more systematic for different strategic purposes:

  • To increase European prevention and responses capacities by integrating stand alone capacities in a meta capacity more powerful
  • To converge towards an integrated management of the maritime logistic chain filled by each EU actor – private, public – but also with main EU neighbours from which EU depends economically or in terms of borders
  • To strengthen the position of Europe in front of other countries or powers in international discussion and best preserve European interests
  • To optimize the cost of development and deployment of capacities that could be shared for several purposes ( maritime safety, environmental maritime security, maritime security such anti terrorism fight or fight against IUU fishing vessels, fight against piracy, environmental security and pollution management, …)
  • To participate to the development of an integrated management of oceans in a holistic way being multi sectoral and multidisciplinary.

Maritime security is also a concern less expressed but nevertheless important in mind of private companies whose business is significantly dependent from the maritime domain such as: fishing industry, energy sector, maritime freight or leisure. Their requirements can be assimilated to those institutional but operated at a modest level and privately to protect exploitation fields (fishing, energy), production, transportation or distribution links in the chain (international transport).

Operational requirements

Requirements from the public sector are for improved capacities for surveillance (detection at longer distance, more in real time, of smaller objects, on board vessels), solutions of fast and coordinated responses involving several naval actors and institutions integrated or distributed facilities that can be networked or aggregated on demand. Main missions are border control, domestic control, EEZ management, Search and Rescue, fight against organized crime and terrorism.

Requirements for the private sector are more oriented on industrial solutions cost effective, easy to deploy within their own production or business facilities and secured internally (infrastructures surveillance, logistic chain monitoring and control, assets tracking including not only vessels but also containers or freight along multimodal chains, vessels tracking and protection).
Whatever the public or private interests, If it can be more easily managed from the shore and within territorial areas under jurisdiction, mainly in coastal areas, such missions can become more difficult to be operated when European interests are located or routing far from European places; main difficulties being:

  • Difficulty in monitoring globally vessel traffic whatever the location and having up to date information, timeliness of the information acquired at far
  • Difficulty in planning operations far from home, based only on European capacities, and in areas under different policies and organizations
  • Problem of responsibility for joint operations in international waters when usually the flag state is responsible elsewhere.
  • Cost of operations too heavy to be sized for a full coverage and fast response and be taken in charge by single countries due to the types, numbers and costs of technologies to be set up (Radars, AIS stations, Space capacities, Information systems and networks, naval forces, air forces, …)

Technological state of the art

Many R&D projects are running at EU level. In short the main characteristics of these projects are:

  • From a mission standpoint, these projects address first protection of coastal and port areas for blue and green border control
  • They are focused on maritime surveillance and control of European waters for European bodies.
  • They address current EC polices EC2002/59 ERIKA II, ERIKA III.
  • They are mainly targeted to technologies used at short range from coast and ready to be integrated at short to medium term.
  • They are most of all institutions oriented.

An exception shall be done for the MARNIS integrated project led by DG TRANSPORT. This project presented as an “orgware” organization and functional project has for ambition to draw the S&T picture in terms of maritime information management for Member States addressing both open seas/coastal areas/ and information on board vessels for safety purposes but also security.

Institutions are also running initiatives and projects at national level and regional: SafetyAtSea (North), Spationav/trafic2000 (France), Med-MEH (I, MT, Tunisia, Libya), SE-VTMIS (I), CINCARM (customs). Their objectives are to evaluate multilateral joint operations either sectorial or regional and increase their capacities (Radars, AIS, …). Such projects are precursor at European level of more enlarged shared capacities for a global maritime security.

Through SOBCAH, MARNIS but also port control, container control related projects (i.e. addressing CSI implementation), crisis management projects, coastal and port areas are first priorities in the design, implementation and integration of technologies serving security. When implementing such solutions, we are pushing further the limits for controlling and anticipating on threats, towards open sea.

Benefits from space – available and valuable now

Space has demonstrated for years to be adequate in remote areas difficult to access, with a specific capacity to address global and large areas of missions (I.e. SARSAT; GPS, INMARSAT, …).

Space, onboard vessels, is present for positioning, communications both for safety, personal or professional purposes, low cost data collection or positioning for protection against piracy … (ISPS code implementation).

If space is of direct use for navigation and communications, it has to be considered also a significant component in the information chain as a raw data basis for information correlation, imagery intelligence and modelling (meteorology, ocean, mission/route planning).

As such for example, Space is valuable to monitor and control the marine environment either for environmental purposes but also for strategic surveillance or tactical aid in case of operations. Earth observation, Space oceanography are main capacities used for vessels detection, but also pollution, ocean state or ocean health measurements.
Such capacities are partly already deployed and efficient within Fishing Monitoring centres, MRCC services, Radar surveillance systems for illegal fishing controls, met-ocean institutes. Their deployment and use mainly driven by safety at sea and military purposes, at a first basis, is today both private and public and has become a necessity due to international law enforcement.
Navigation: GPS is onboard all vessels. Beyond providing European sovereign solutions with Galileo, the next important steps will be to ensure precise and certified positioning to guaranty the protection of vessels all over the globe (for regulation and Search & rescue) but also to prevent institutions from false positioning given by illegal or IUU vessels.
Data collection systems, mainly used for safety at sea, environmental measurements and ISPS code implementation, will have to be maintained to propose low cost and efficient solutions for small amount of data collection with an enlarged coverage.
Earth Observation, much more mature for terrestrial applications, associated with space oceanography should develop to have en “eye” on the ocean. It shall support navies, maritime authorities or intelligence services to detect and control suspect activities at sea and contribute significantly to prevention and preparedness. Improvements paths should be accuracy, real time observation, extended coverage and also promotion for an enlarged use by the public and private sector.

Beyond intrinsic advantages, Space is a solution:

  • Addressing large coverage surveillance and long range
  • With capacity for hotspot monitoring
  • Fully discrete and non intrusive, legally valid over foreign territories
  • Working all weather, all time
  • Nevertheless, it has been and will remain complementary and useful combined with other data into a maritime information capability.

Forthcoming challenges

Technological and operational challenges to solve reside now in providing solutions and operational scenarios to guarantee that threats cannot be prepared or executed where security constraints are relaxed and thus the vulnerability increased, at long range.

By combining space and non space missions, next Maritime security capacities shall be designed to ensure that:
activities along international routes are continuously tracked from port to port to support vessels protections (and specially HAZMAT3 vessels),
surveillance will be able to be operated anywhere, at any time to detect suspect activities (even small) potentially dangerous along routes, and
The maritime environment can be mastered in terms of objects presence, met ocean behaviour to support detection and operations.
The forthcoming challenges for space are threefold:

  • increase performances in terms of technology to meet operational requirements and scenarios : ensure the continuity of information all time, become more real time and reactive in case of unplanned event and emergency, ensure unfalsification and security of the information
  • proceed with standardization to be integrated with non space technologies to demonstrate of its usefulness and necessity become accessible in terms of pricing so that an enlarged institutional market and private market can adopt it and ensure a global security by sharing surveillance and security responsibilities and aggregating it into a global security framework.

If Space can technologically answer in the future to operational concerns (detection of small wood boats, moving targets, eaves dropping, real time vessel detections in dense areas), Space based capacities will not expand without a strong support from international regulations pushing for it the promotion of added value maritime services integrating all sort of technologies into powerful integrated systems for institutions and states but also light, flexible and cost effective applications for all actors concerned by security: developing countries, private sector, and industry.

Acknowledgments

The authors specially thanks the European partners of the MAEVA maritime security consortium for their contribution, but also meteorological, oceanographic and maritime authorities in refining the concept for a global maritime security and the contribution of space into this global picture. FP6, PASR projects coordinators are also granted for their availability and communication on their respective projects to progress commonly and complementarily in the development of this vision.

Autors

CLS
8-10 rue Hermès
31520 Ramonville
France

Notes

1 DG TRANSPORT white paper, 2001, La politique Européenne des transports à l’horizon 2010 : l’heure des choix

2 DG FISH Common Fisheries Policy, 2001

3 HAZMAT – Hazardous Materials – sensitive cargaisons

Gisat operates since 1990 as the first privately run remote sensing and geoinformation service company in the Czech Republic. The company brings to its domestic and international clients complete portfolio of services starting from satellite data and geomatics software distribution, through specialized image and GIS data processing and analysis, up to advanced geoinformation products and applications. Gisat has long-term experiences with management of international cooperation as well as good understanding of specific environmental situation in the CEE countries.

Gisat is incorporated in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. Since its beginning the company is committed to provide its clients with wide range of value added, complete, high quality and ‘state-of-the-art’ geoinformation services using the Earth Observation technology.
Satellite Data Distribution
Based on the long-term partnership with all existing world-wide satellite data providers Gisat represents the centre point for all clients interested in satellite data acquisition. Before the satellite data are ordered and supplied any client can take advantage of consultancy and advisory services related to the choice of proper data, recommended processing and integration with existing tools and databases. Thanks to the extensive experiences with the exploitation of satellite imagery Gisat can guarantee cost effective and straightforward solution adapted for each particular client needs.
Products & Services
Gisat is dedicated to provide its partners and clients with broad range of standard and user tailored products and services using the advanced technology of remote sensing and GIS. All methods applied are updated and improved according to the recent developments in the EO domain worldwide and verified in cooperation with both domestic and foreign institutions, such as the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Environmental Agency (EEA), the Joint Research Centre of the EU (JRC), the Czech Academy of Science and dozen of national and European Universities and Research Labs.
- data acquisition
EO data, topographic & thematic maps, statistical data, thematic data, databases, …
- data level products (data processing)
scanning & georeferencing of paper maps, airborne and satellite data orthorectification & mosaicking, DEM generation (stereophotogrammetry, interferometry), interpretation & classification of airborne and satellite images, 3D vector extraction, …
- information level products (data analysis)
topographic & thematic mapping, map updating, landscape change mapping & analysis, 3D city models, …
- GIS development & modeling
GIS database creation & integration, raster & vector modeling, spatial analysis, suitability analysis, topographic analysis, …
- geo-information assessment
environmental accounting, environmental & agricultural indicators development, water & urban management support, environmental & agricultural monitoring, …
- consulting, advising, training
proposal preparation & project management, EO data processing & applications, GIS management, user tailored training, …
Synthesis map showing land cover change intensity in 20 years in selected CEE countries
Applications
Gisat activities cover various application areas with the common focus to improve decision making by involving various geospatial data into crucial processes.
- environment, land cover/land use mapping and change analyses, soil erosion modeling, air & water pollution, …
- agriculture, crop monitoring, crop acreages estimation, agrometeorological modeling, crop yield forecasting, subsidy control, precision farming, …
- urban studies/spatial planning, urban mapping, baseline maps, multi-criteria based optimalization, resource-demand tasks, …
- defense, security, hazards
map update, terrain analysis, flood monitoring, multi-criteria risk analysis, …
- earth exploration
oil & gas exploration, water resource detection, geological mapping, …
- forestry
forest mapping & inventories, change detection, damage analyses, …
- infrastructure
GIS based management and planning, transport corridors mapping & monitoring, …
- other
tailored geo-services/products for specific clients
Morfotectonic map for a proposed DGR site for nuclear waste in the Czech Republic
Global experience
Based on the long-term presence on the domestic and European geospatial market, through its portfolio of products and services and thanks to extensive experiences from the past projects Gisat has established sustainable and reliable partnerships with its clients and partners. Since the foundation in 1990 Gisat has successfully created its reputation inside the country as well as abroad. Based on long time experiences of the key staff personnel the company has accomplished about 100 projects in almost 50 countries worldwide.
GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) is the principal European initiative supported by the European Commission and the European Space Agency to boost up European EO related business answering growing demand for various geo-spatial data and services from European and regional users.
Gisat is involved in wide range of GMES related projects and activities and the company is ranked among the top European service providers in the two of three priority thematic domains: Land Monitoring and Emergency Response.
Gisat experts have been involved for more than a decade in unique European mapping programme (CORINE Land Cover) and related activities including land accounting and indicator development. Since 2001 Gisat is a member of the international consortium (ETC-TE, ETC-LUSI) assisting the European Environment Agency (EEA) in its attempts to achieve sustainable development and to improve our environment. This team includes a valuable expertise in Europe to analyze the environmental data with regards to developments in society and the economy and with regards to various environmental and sectoral policies. Gisat is also a member of the European technical team implementing CLC2000 and CLC2006 mapping campaigns.
Gisat news in 2007
Gisat responds to Emergency Response
Gisat joins the ESA GMES GSE RESPOND project as the service provider partner.
Fast-Tracking urban sprawl
Gisat is a member of the European service provider network mapping urban sprawl and soil sealing for Europe by 2008 in challenging project awarded by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Gisat makes it REAL
REmote sensing identification and monitoring of Abandoned Land project aims to explore potential of the state-of-the-art remote sensing techniques for monitoring of land abandonment in the Czech Republic.
Gisat has landed in GSE Land
Gisat joins the ESA GMES GSE Land project as the service provider partner.
Gisat leads TLCC project
TLCC project aims to create the automated land cover classification methodology in the frame of the National Space Program of Ukraine as part of Ukrainian GMES segment.
ETC-LUSI succeeds to ETC-TE
Gisat was named as one of the key member of the European consortium that won in a prestigious tender launched by the European Environmental Agency (EEA).
CGMS Calibration Platform
In the frame of four-year JRC ASEMARS project Gisat takes over the responsibility for testing of Crop Calibration Platform inside the MCYFS (MARS Crop Yield Forecasting system).
Contact
Charkovská 7, 101 00 Praha 10
Czech Republic
Phone: +420 271 741 935
Fax: +420 271 741 936
Gisat@Gisat.cz
(Source Gisat)

Dr. Christian Hoffmann, general manager and founder of GeoVille: “GeoVille, is established as one of the European quality providers in the production of land cover information from satellite and aerial photography data. Our mission to attain innovative and outstanding geo-information products has been recently recognised by the GMES Innovation Award, selected by a board of ESA, EC, and Definiens reviewers. Through GeoVille’s Luxembourg subsidiary we are currently providing in-depth environmental expert support to customers such as the European Environment Agency. The combination of leading edge land monitoring technology with environmental knowledge provides truly integrated geo-information products – an asset only a few companies in the market can share. This is an excellent basis to serve our customers within GMES as well as in our markets in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America”.

GeoVille group
GeoVille group is a private sector enterprise located in Austria and Luxembourg.
GeoVille Information Systems GmbH is based in Innsbruck and specialises in products and services related to Earth Observation (EO) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications.
The fully owned subsidiary in Luxembourg, GeoVille Environmental Services sàrl was founded in 2007 and specializes on environmental applications using GIS and EO data.
Services
GeoVille offers services in the following fields:
• EO data processing
• GI operations
• Geodata provision and distribution
• Environmental applications
• Management and consultancy
The main thematic domains regarding EO and GIS applications comprise land use and land cover mapping; urban, regional and spatial planning; forestry; infrastructure applications; cartography and consultancy.

Mission
We see our mission as to provide turnkey solutions for efficient spatial data management and analysis.
At GeoVille, we know that success in the rapidly advancing field of remote sensing requires not only adequate technical infrastructure, but also profound understanding of the relationship between customer demands, fields of application and available technology — that is exactly what we have to offer.
• understand today’s and tomorrow’s customer geo-information requirements
• meet requirements with “excellent value for money” geo-information services, products and solutions
• supply affordable and quality controlled geo-information with known levels of precision
• stand at the forefront of remote sensing, GIS and ancillary information integration into high-end applications
• put customer satisfaction at the centre of attention thereby attaining leadership in “end-to-end” geo-spatial applications
Applications – transforming images into intelligent information

• Land Cover Mapping
Millions of square kilometres mapped in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America
• Urban & Regional Planning
Successfully served city and regional administrations in three continents
• Spatial Planning
European leader in using satellite data for spatial planning applications
• Forestry
Terabytes of aerial photographs mapped with automated interpret-ation services
• Infrastructure
Service roll-outs to telecom companies, consulting engineers and transport operators
in four continents
• Cartography
Map making services provided to costumers in 35 countries
• Consultancy & Promotion
World-wide service delivery to international organisations and private industries

Team and facilities
Our team has experience and expertise in managing and executing national and international projects. At present, GeoVille is employing a staff of more than 20 experts and consultants graduated in Earth sciences and Informatics from universities in Austria, Germany and the United States. Key emphasis is on remote sensing and GIS. All of our staff members are holding MSc grade or equivalent, and 30% a PhD title.
We use leading edge GIS (ESRI) and image processing software (PCI, ERDAS, eCognition) and provide consultancy, processing and development capabilities for software components from major GIS and remote sensing software vendors.
GeoVille in GMES – we are actively engaged with stakeholders to build a common European geo-information market
GeoVille has been playing a key role in GMES services for land applications, related to both land cover production as well as downstream services in the urban and spatial planning domain.
GMES Fast Track Precursor
GeoVille is member of the consortium that has been selected to carry
out the European Fast Track Precursor on urban areas and soil sealing
for 38 European countries. GeoVille is responsible for production of 12
countries and acts as scientific and thematic expert advisor to the
consortium.
GSE Land Information Services
In the project GSE Land Information Services funded by ESA, GeoVille is
task manager on the “Impervious areas and sealing levels” and
responsible for service implementation in 10 European countries. The
project delivers cost effective geo-information services for urban
areas, which are harmonised and standardised for cross-border
applications.
geoland
GeoVille participated as programme manager of the Spatial Planning
Observatory in the EU funded Integrated Project geoland. The ambition
was to develop and demonstrate a range of reliable, affordable and cost
efficient European geo-information services, supporting the
implementation of European directives and their national implementation.
BOSS4GMES
In the EU funded project BOSS4GMES GeoVille collaborates with partners
to link GMES service providers, with key political decision makers, a
broader sphere of users and the wider public.
GMES Network of User
GeoVille will also participate in the GMES Network of Users (GNU). The
coordinated action is closely linked to already existing networks of
users of environmental data, including EEA Eionet, the GEO User
Interface Committee and the User Group on Land Monitoring supported by
geoland and GSE Land.
GeoVille projects
Operational project services outside the GMES and research and technological development funding scheme represent the core of GeoVille’s activities. Such services amounted in 2006 to more than two-third of the turnover.
Concerning value adding services for institutional clients in the public domain, a series of applications using space and airborne data in the fields of spatial planning, forestry, traffic and environmental monitoring were carried out. Customers were ministries, state governments, the European Commission, United Nations and the World Bank. Among private customers RedBull has to be mentioned with the delivery of special imaging services to provide coverage of the Air Races. Additionally clutter maps were provided to radio communication planning operators in Austria, Czech Republic, Kosovo, Slovakia and South Africa.

Reference Customers
International Organisations National Authorities Private Companies
• European Union (DG’s, Units, Programmes) in Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain
• European Space Agency (ESA) in France and Italy
• United Nations and United Nations Office for Project Services in Austria, Malaysia, USA
• World Bank, USA
• Institute for Applied System Analysis, Austria
• Federal Ministries of Forestry, Environment, Spatial Planning and Transport (worldwide)
• Municipalities and Town Planning Institutes (worldwide)
• Regional Administrations of Forestry and Spatial Planning (worldwide)
• Federal Institutes and Research Centres (Europe)
• National Remote Sensing Centres (Asia and Africa)
• Consulting firms
• Telecommunication firms
• Solar companies
• Airpilot simulator companies
• Transport and infrastructure firms
• Television companies
• Edutainment companies
GeoVille highlights in 2007
• GeoVille is member of the consortium that has been selected to carry out the European Fast Track Precursor on urban areas. Responsibilities include production of 12 countries and as well as thematic and scientific advisory.
• Jürgen Weichselbaum, Technical Director of GeoVille receives Definiens GMES Innovation Award
• General Manger of GeoVille, Christian Hoffmann appointed to EARSC Board of Directors
• Christian Hoffmann, founder of GeoVille introduces GMES to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
• GeoVille becomes full partner of the European Topic Centre for Land Use and Spatial Information
• Implementation of image fusion method – developed by the Head of GeoVille’s consulting group Ute Gangkofner – in Erdas Imagine 9.0
• Lutz Petrat of GeoVille responsible for beta-testing of Erdas Imagine IFSAR module
• GeoVille signs data distribution agreement for TerraSAR-X
• Foundation of GeoVille Environmental Services sàrl in Luxembourg with Stefan Kleeschulte as Managing Director
(Source GeoVille Group)

MFB-GeoConsulting (MFB-Geo) is specializing in “Solutions in Geographic Imaging” for optical, lidar and radar Earth observation.

The company is based in a countryside village in the neighborhood of Berne, Switzerland. As a young enterprise – founded in 1999 – MFB-Geo covers a wide range of national and international activities and services. Depending on the customer’s needs, MFB-Geo offers project- and customer-adapted solutions in geographic imaging including the design and implementation of operational workflows.
The integration of image and auxiliary geo data with geographic information and database management systems is one of the strength of MFB-Geo. Special attention is given to interfaces for data transfer between different system components as well as on the development of user interfaces. In addition, the extraction of 3-D information from stereoscopic imagery with photogrammetric precision (DEMs, buildings, etc.) and the 3-D visualization via internet are part of the technological know-how.
MFB-Geo and its highly specialized team have an extended experience in applied remote sensing and Earth observation. To strengthen its presence on the EU market, MFB-Geo founded in 2006 – in cooperation with its German partner Geosystems (Germering) – a daughter company in France (Geosystems France), based in Montigny-le-Bretonneux near Paris.
Remote Sensing and Earth Observation
Based on its long-term research work, the MFB-Geo team is familiar with spectral sensor characteristics related to reflection/emission signatures and their spatial and temporal variability, resp., of the Earth’s surface. Specialists in agriculture, forestry, hydrology/snow/ice and planning/mapping can merge the EO-specific know-how with daily practical and operational needs of its customers. As a licensed reseller of most Earth observation data (Ikonos, QuickBird, Spot, IRS, Kompsat, Formosat, ERS, Radarsat, etc.), MFB-Geo can advise its clients in getting the most appropriate data set and the according solution.
Thus MFB-Geo can support its customers in a variety of EO applications as:
• Land-use/land-cover mapping: for irrigation planning and monitoring as well as input into hydrological models
• Change detection in agriculture and forestry
• Hydrology: snow and ice cover monitoring, snowmelt runoff forecasting, flood forecasting and monitoring, hydro-power generation and irrigation
• Rapid mapping for natural disasters
• Infrastructure planning: telecommunications, mining, reservoirs
• Urban planning
MFB-Geo’s focus is also on the most recent development in 3-D visualizations using 3-D GIS and web technologies. Based on stereoscopic air- or space-borne optical, lidar or radar sensor data and imagery, digital surface and elevation models (DSM, DEM) are derived using photogrammetric analyses tools. Thus, 3-D change detection, e.g., in urban planning and in mining, can be carried out.
MFB-Geo offers such technologies to the tourism, mobility and planning sectors. These tools enable the customers – after draping image data on DEMs – to populate the 3-D landscape model with a variety of data:
• 3-D objects derived from stereoscopic imagery, e.g., buildings
• complex textured city models
• points of interest
• landmarks
• hyperlinks related to specific objects
• videos and sound related to selected objects
• weather web cams
• animated 3-D objects in the 3-D landscape (cars, railways, planes, etc.)
• vector data (roads, hiking trails, public transport, etc.)
All this information is put on a website and the web users visiting such a site can actively move through the 3-D landscape and collect the needed information.
Tools for Analyzing Remote Sensing and Earth Observation Data
For providing a customer with the most adequate solution for its project, MFB-Geo either offers to analyze geo data or to set up (design and implement) entire operational workflows. The design of workflows means to integrate the additionally needed workflow into an existing one, and to identify and realize the necessary system links and interfaces. All project-specific hardware and software is evaluated and implemented including satellite receiving stations, image processing and GIS systems as well as project-specific models (e.g. hydrological forecasting models).
In this context – as a licensed reseller for the entire suite of Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging (LGGI) software tools – MFB-Geo provides its customers with the most recent software solutions in image processing (ERDAS Imagine), photogrammetry (Leica Photogrammetric Suite) and 3-D visualization (Leica Virtual Explorer). In addition, a full range of the most recent 3-D stereo-graphics cards, emitters, shutter glasses and 3-D monitors are implemented.
Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging software tools include:
ERDAS Imagine (add-ons: subpixel classifier, radar mapping suite, stereo analyst, feature analyst, lidar analyst, auto sync, vector, actor)
• Leica Photogrammertic Suite (LPS) including Imagine, LPS core, LPS stereo, ATE, TE, Mosaic Pro, Orima, Pro600)
• Leica Virtual Explorer (LVE) including LVE architect, LVE server, LVE client, LVE pro client, LVE custom client
As a solution provider, training and education is a fundamental task of MFB-Geo. A full range of courses is provided: software-specific training and software support; project-related training in remote sensing / Earth observation and its applications; integration of remote sensing with GIS and other geo data; feeding models with EO data or derivative data. Furthermore, training courses and lectures are held at colleges and universities.
Project Management, Realization and Consulting
MFB-Geo offers its services to national and international customers. The attached list gives an overview on the most important projects realized by MFB-Geo.
One of the fascinating projects is the “Flood Forecasting and Monitoring Project” at the Changjiang (Yangtze) river in China, a joint Sino-Swiss cooperation project with the Changjiang Water Recourses Commission (CWRC) as a partner. The goal of this project is to improve operational flood forecasting procedures for the Three-Gorges Reservoir at the Changjiang river. Therefore, the computer infrastructure including hard- and software is implemented, selected geo data sets are made available, and local specialists are trained. In detail, this means:
• Implementation of a satellite receiving station for digital NOAA-AVHRR data. These data cover the basic needs for geo data (vegetation and land-use, snow and cloud cover, flood monitoring, etc.). The spatial resolution of 1 km2 is sufficient with regards to the size of the basin and the local needs as well as the hydrological model applied. Furthermore, these data can be received free of charge (which covers the request for sustainability);
• Setup of a processing chain for geo data based on digital image processing and GIS systems including a server-based computer infrastructure;
• Delivery of selected data sets as: a) digital 1 km elevation model for China, b) ASTER satellite data for the Three-Gorges neighborhood (50,000 km2) including an ASTER-derived DEM; Landsat-TM data for the entire Three-Gorges basin; QuickBird scene for the Three-Gorges reservoir;
• Evaluation and implementation of a distributed, conceptual hydrological model for the “Daning” as a test basin and an expansion of the model to the Three-Gorges basin; this task is carried out by the technical uncivesity of Zurich (ETHZ);
• Training of local specialists based on several approaches: a) basic training in image processing and GIS at a local university, b) intensive follow-up training in Europe at ITC, c) project-specific training in Switzerland: processing of geo data, flood monitoring and forecasting, model-specific training in forecasting, d) Swiss specialists training of local participants in China.
Figure 1: QuickBird scene on the Three-Gorges Dan at the Yangtze River, China (source: Eurimage/MFB-Geo, 2004)
A project representing a completely different scale and space is related to the application of geo data for telecommunication network planning in Switzerland: based on all accessible geo data including satellite data, MFB-Geo derived a 3-D clutter (morphological or land-cover) map for entire Switzerland. This clutter map serves as an input to a radiation propagation model for calculating the reception quality of radio communication.
The basic request was to generate a clutter map with a grid size of 5m x 5m and showing all objects with a heights larger than 2m. This means an improved spatial resolution by a factor of at least 2 to 5 compared to conventional models. The following data were applied:
• Satellite data and aerial photos
• Digital elevation models
• Digital surface models based on lidar data
• Pixel maps 1:25,000
• Vector maps 1:25,000
• Geo-statistical data (100m x 100m)
Figure 2: Telecommunication network planning. 2a) satellite mosaic, antenna locations and visibility; 2b) 2D-clutter map; 2c) 3D-clutter map indicating object heights classes (source: MFB-Geo, 2005)
MFB-Geo developed semi-automatic procedures for extracting land-cover information from image, vector and statistical data as well as for the determination of object heights. Based on this high-resolution clutter map, a significant improvement of the predicted radiation compared to the measure one was achieved.
Location-based information distribution and collection in a 3-D virtual world, visualizations and fly-throughs via the internet becomes more and more important in a broad field of applications (planning and construction, tourism, etc.). In the project presented here, MFB-Geo realized a visualization for a cable-car project. Based on a digital elevation model and image data (air- and space-borne), vector information and 3-D objects were integrated in this virtual scene. The scene was then populated with points of interest, hyper links, sounds, videos and many other information related to the objects in the scene (pdf files) showing the touristic context of the project including hotels, restaurants, farms, hiking trails, weather web cams, etc.
In the last months and years, MFB-Geo has continuously invested in the most recent technologies in image processing (hardware and software) for processing extremely large data sets. Thus, the MFB-Geo team is capable to offering its services to a broad spectrum of customers.
Figure 3: Tourism; 3a) Tourist attractions and Points of Interest; 3b) cable car planning (source: MFB-Geo, 2006)
Reference Projects
- Infrastructure for Flood Monitoring of the Yangtze River, China: Satellite Reception, Image Processing, GIS and Hydrological Models, Swiss Development Cooperation / Emergency Aid and Reconstruction (2003-2007)
- ESA / EO Envelope Program, Market Development: EOMD Mining (2003 – 2006)
- Geo Data and 3-D Technologies for Telecomm Network Planning Switzerland (2000 – 2006)
- Establishment of Operational Snowmelt Runoff Forecasting in Tajikistan, Federal Office of Foreign Economic Affairs (2001 – 2004)
- Regional Center of Hydrology in Central Asia: Establishment of an Information and Communication System for Operational Flow Forecasting, Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) (2000-2004)
- Improvement of the Infrastructure at the Hydrometeorological Surveys of Central Asia, World Bank Program 2.1, Federal Office of Foreign Economic Affairs (1997 – 2002)
- 3-D Visualization for Tourism in the European Alps (2003)
- Near-real time 3-D Visualization at the World Orienteering Championship in Switzerland (2003)
- Monitoring of Sugar Can Plantations, Kom Ombo, Upper Egypt (2002 – 2003)
- Palm Tree Monitoring, El Oued/Gardaia, Algeria (2001 – 2002)
- Snowmelt Runoff Simulations in the Himalayas, ESA/DUP-Project SPIHRAL (1998 – 1999)
- Hydrology of Alpine and Northern Latitude Basins, EU Project HYDALP (1996 – 1999)
- Information System for Messen (Solothurn/Switzerland), Community information system and master plan (1996 – 1999)
References
- Member of the European Assoc. of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC)
- Member of the European Assoc. of Remote Sensing Laboratories (Earsel)
- Founding member of the Society of Swiss Earth Observation Service Providers (SED)
- Member of the Swiss Soc. on Photogrammetry, Image Analysis and Remote Sensing (SGPBF);Member of the board of SGPBF (1991 – 1997)
- Swiss Federal delegate to the European Space Agency (ESA/DOSTAG), (1993 – 1998)
- Advisor for the Int. Committee on Remote Sensing (ICRS) of the Int. Assoc. Hydrological Sciences (IAHS)
- Assoc. Prof. at the Dept. of Geography, University of Berne (since 1988) ad lecturer at various colleges and universities
CONTACT
MFB-GeoConsulting GmbH
Eichholzstrasse 17 & 23
CH- 3254
Messen, Switzerland
Phone: +41 (31) 765-5063,
Fax: +41 (31) 765-6091

Indra Espacio S.A., subsidiary of Indra responsible of the space related activities, is a leading ground segment specialist with an extensive experience in the last 25 years in a range of activities such as project management, system engineering, system design and development, system integration and test, product assurance, applications development, etc.
Indra is the leading Spanish company in Information Technologies with a workforce of more than 8200 and revenues of 1202 M€ in 2005.
Indra Espacio benefits from the host company infrastructure and advantageous position, in particular for:
• On-demand access to INDRA’s IT specialised departments (competence centres): Software Factory, Network Management, e-Business, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and SCM (Supply Chain Management), Internet infrastructure, Consultancy, CRM (Customer Relation Management), etc.
• National and international sales networks and subsidiaries
• Centralised administration including a large size purchase department
• Human resources intranet, corporate image, etc.
Indra Espacio, with a highly skilled staff of 265 employers in 2005, offers turn-key solutions in the areas of Telecommunications, Remote Sensing, Satellite Control and Navigation, besides Logistic Support in live Cycle. Our flexibility allows us to give a personalized service for each customer.
Our Headquarters are in San Fernando de Henares, near Madrid, where it is also located one of the two facilities of the company. The second one is located in Barcelona.
Indra Espacio is AQAP 110 and ISO 9001:2000 and 14001 certified, and is periodically re-certified by the relevant Spanish National Agencies (Spanish MoD for AQAP, and AENOR for ISO standard) by means of complete quality audits on the QA Environmental System.
Indra Espacio Economical – Financial update
In line with Indra’s figures, Indra Espacio has achieved an increase of 14% in its sales in Financial Year 2005. The net operating profit has also increased, confirming a positive result in spite of an environment which doubtless made it difficult to improve.
EARTH OBSERVATION
The growing interest in the monitoring and management of the Earth’s resources has resulted in an emerging Remote Sensing market, requesting data from satellite sensors with higher spatial resolution in different spectral bands.
Since 1984 Indra keeps on demonstrating its excellence in Earth Observation Systems, using data from all kind of satellites and instruments (Landsat, Spot, IRS, IKONOS, ERS, Meteosat, NOAA…), developing projects in several fields such as meteorology, environment, agriculture, hydrology, emergency management (flooding, forest fire…) or territorial planning. Nowadays, the Remote Sensing Department is a multi-task group of skilled engineers and technicians in Remote Sensing, SIG, Digital Image Processing and Software Development.
Technologies
-Engineering of Image Reception Stations
-Digital Image Processing: Optical and SAR
-Algorithms for radiometric and geometric corrections (Spot, Landsat, Helios, IKONOS, Eros, ERS…) -Software for linear objects detection (Optical and SAR)
-Image processing software based on Java technology
-Interferometric SAR data processing software: EPSIE 2000
-Implementation and customisation of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
-Pattern Analysis and Recognition -Digital Cartography at different scales -Computer Aided Graphics and Artificial Vision
-Photo-interpretation of digital images
Systems
-Payload Data Processing Centres
-Multi-band receiving stations
-Image Exploitation Centres based on distributed architecture (Web server)
-Image Archive and Dissemination Systems
-Thematic Processing Centre for emergency situations
-Synthetic Aperture Radar Processor
Applications
-Cadastre
-Land Use
-Hydrology
-Agriculture
-Forest Farming
-Urban Development
-Oceanography
-Meteorology
-Real Scene Simulation (3D) -Volcanology / Seismology -Environmental Studies
-Forest Fire, Flooding
-Water quality
-Oil Spill
-Subsidence
-Risk assessment and mapping
-Change assessment
SMOS Data Processing Ground Segment
The European Space Agency has granted to Indra Espacio a contract for the development of the Data Processing Ground Segment of the SMOS mission, which shall be installed at ESAC (European Space Astronomy Centre).
SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) is the second selected Earth Explorer Opportunity Mission (Cryosat being the first). SMOS is intended to demonstrate the observation of two key variables, namely soil moisture over land and salinity over oceans, to advance the development of climatological, meteorological and hydrological models of the Earth. In addition, the mission should provide new insights into snow and ice structure, so helping to advance the understanding of the cryosphere.
The centre shall receive, process, archive and disseminate the global data acquired by the satellite, offering to the scientific community the salinity and soil moisture products generated (up to level 2).
Indra Espacio is responsible for the project management and system engineering activities as well as the development of the critical elements, from the data acquisition, with a proprietary solution for the 3,5 m. antenna, to the Core SW including processing management, archive, dissemination and monitoring and control.
The launch of the satellite is planned for September 2007, followed by a six month commissioning phase and an operational phase lasting 2.5 years. The operations phase can optionally be extended a further two years period.

JAGUAR – Expanding EO services in the Latin American and Caribbean regions

The European Space Agency has granted to INDRA a study aimed at supporting the expansion of the European EO services in the Latin American and Caribbean regions. This contract is funded within the EO Market Development programme.
Special emphasis shall be put on finding suitable partnerships schemes that allow establishing cooperation actions between companies and institutions of both continents.
During the study the Latin American and Caribbean markets shall be characterized by means of direct contacts and interviews with different local actors: value added companies, space agencies, main private and public customer organizations, etc. In addition, contacts with the main international donor agencies present in the region, as the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank, shall be established
An initial set of service trials shall be implemented in the thematic areas of land cover and land use, forest management, risks management and agriculture. Additional service cases could be included on the basis of the intermediate results achieved during the project.
At a last step, a strategic plan shall be outlined with the needed promotional actions for increasing the demand of the European capabilities, a detailed action plan with associated costing and planned partnerships and joint ventures.

Consolidation of geo-information assets and competences
including new subsidiary in France

The Infoterra Group, a leading geo-information service provider comprising companies in the United Kingdom, Germany and Hungary, has been significantly strengthened by the formation of Infoterra France – integration of ISTAR and teams from EADS Astrium’s Earth observation division. Infoterra’s parent company, Europe’s leading satellite system specialist EADS Astrium, has reinforced its commitment to expand activities in Earth observation services by gathering complementary assets and competences to enhance the group’s operational capabilities.
The Infoterra group, with over 300 staff and a turnover of around 50 M€, is one of the Worlds’ leading providers of geo-information products and services for managing the world’s environment, development and security.
Capability
Customers will benefit directly from the pooling of assets under the Infoterra brand and with the launch of TerraSAR-X (the new German radar satellite, developed in partnership with the German Aerospace Agency (DLR) and EADS Astrium GmbH, for which Infoterra holds the exclusive commercial exploitation rights) later this year, the Infoterra Group will expand the range of resources it can offer customers.
Artist´s view of TerraSAR-X. © EADS Astrium GmbH
TerraSAR-X adds to an established comprehensive range of airborne sensors and access to a variety
of spaceborne data sources. Infoterra’s ADS40 digital sensor, as well as lidar, radar, hyperspectral and thermal instruments, are operated around the globe to provide accurate and cost effective aerial data. Furthermore, access to data from a huge range of established spaceborne sensors, including IKONOS, QuickBird, ENVISAT and SPOT satellites (Spot Image is affiliated with Infoterra through EADS Astrium’s 40% ownership) is available through Infoterra.
After acquiring data Infoterra offers the foremost data processing and interpretation services. The unique multiple sensor processing chain, the Pixel Factory™, automatically processes spatial or digital airborne images, enabling a thorough control of 2D and 3D geometry, creation of specific products and the seamless merge of data from different scales and sources, compliant to various applications.
Aerial Photography. © GeoStore.com
In addition to supplying datasets, Infoterra offer sophisticated geospatial solutions through the interpretation of both satellite and airborne data. Infoterra is accomplished at turning data into useful business information for a wide range of applications around the world: telecommunications network planning, environmental & land management, risk assessment, infrastructure planning and geological mapping. Further examples include:
• Infoterra’s solutions for defence and security support the entire life cycle of geospatial data as used in any defence and intelligence process: tasking commercial satellite imagery assets, turning geospatial data into mapping products and hosting & dissemination enabling users to access data. As an example, TerraSAR-X‘s high radiometric accuracy, weather/daylight independence, quick access time and the possibility to receive 1m resolution data around the globe, will make it an ideal sensor to support time-critical situations.
• To help monitor crops and optimize harvest, Infoterra’s crop management service, FARMSTAR, provides growers with a series of recommendation maps. This service – based on a unique process combining satellite and aerial imagery, agronomic models and meteorological data – is currently helping more than 10,000 farmers in France, and is now being used in many countries including the UK, Spain, Brazil and Argentina.
FARMSTAR crop management service.
• Infoterra’s offshore and onshore geo-information solutions are used widely for the exploration of oil, gas and minerals. From satellite and airborne imagery, Infoterra’s team of geologists can interpret the data to produce onshore structural and geological mapping, and also oil seeps data for global offshore basins.
Over the last few years Infoterra has invested in technologies and developed systems to enable geospatial data to be easily managed, while providing rapid delivery. Today Infoterra operates one of Europe’s largest commercial geospatial hosting service centres, storing thousands of terrabytes of data. This facility is being utilised by a range of organisations, along with the online service, GeoStore® – a flexible online service for businesses to access geospatial data.
GMES Services
Infoterra has established a leading role in the GMES (European Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) programme – a joint initiative of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission (EC).
Infoterra provides efficient, reliable services in three significant GMES priority areas:
European land use/land cover state and change: Infoterra‘s monitoring and periodical mapping of European landuse serves as a basis for a variety of applications, which are developed together with partners across Europe. This data enables improved sustainable planning and successful management of water quality, soil erosion, nature protection and urban/regional planning.
www.gmes-geoland.info
GMES Basic Landcover Mapping. Catchment of river Weser, GE2006.
• Risk management: combining the use of satellite and exogenous data with modelling techniques and information systems, Infoterra and its partners are developing enhanced information services and tools, to help monitor all types of risk and manage crises situations. www.risk-eos.com www.preview-risk.com
• Humanitarian relief: Infoterra, with an alliance of organisations, is working with the humanitarian community to improve access to maps, satellite imagery and geographic information, with the aim to increase the effectiveness of the relief process.
www.respond-int.org
Summary
Marc Tondriaux, chairman of the joint Infoterra Management Board, says: “We are all excited about sharing knowledge and experience throughout the group, and the benefits this brings to our customers. Profiting from synergies among the established entities, we are able to offer a portfolio ranging from data acquisition and processing to sophisticated geo-information services – something only a few companies in this market are able to offer. I am confident that Infoterra will endorse and strengthen its position as a leading provider of geo-information products and services for managing our world’s environment, development and security.”

For more information contact
Sarah Haslam, Infoterra Ltd,
+44 (0)116 273 2300
(Credits Infoterra Group)

Metria Miljöanalys, based in Stockholm, is a service provider that focuses on the operational use of remote sensing and GIS techniques for forestry and environmental applications as well as security-related aspects. The personnel at Metria Miljöanalys have a thorough knowledge and a long-term experience in remote sensing and GIS, and have a combination of academic and professional expertise in various relevant fields. We do business by in-depth understanding of customers need and development of attractive services. Metria has a total staff of 420, of which more than 100 work with EO- and GIS-related tasks.
Metria is one of three divisions within Lantmäteriet, the National Land Survey of Sweden. Lantmäteriet is a Government agency, which overall goal is to support an efficient and sustainable use of land and water. The total staff of Lantmäteriet is over 2,000, and the annual turnover is 160 million Euro, of which 77 percent is generated through charging fees on real property formation, the use of information from databases and on consultancy services. Core grants from the Government are used primarily for producing basic geographic data and managing and maintaining registers and databases.
Metria carries out its services on contract and operates in competition with other Swedish and international companies in national and international markets. Metria has a total staff of 420, of which more then 100 work with EO- and GIS-related tasks. Services and products supplied by Metria include consultancy services in the EO- and GIS-sector, in surveying and mapping, cadastral services, database access via Internet, application and system development. Metria has at its disposal a wide range of resources for geographic data capture, data processing and refinement, and for system development within geographic IT. Metria also offers consultancy services within geographic information technology, which are based on state-of-the-art technology and design, and aimed at the development of customised and integrated system solutions for an efficient use of the geographic information. Metria‘s clients are to be found in both the private sector, such as forestry, utility and telecommunications companies, and in the public sector.
Metria has a long standing experience in the distribution of all kind of satellite data and other geo-data, and is the prime source for satellite data and digital/analogue aerial photography in Sweden. Metria is the Swedish distributor for all the major civilian Earth observation satellite systems such as SPOT, Landsat, Radarsat, Ikonos, QuickBird and other. IMAGE 2000 was led by Metria delivering orthocorrected Landsat data over Europe. Yearly national coverage, 450 000 km2, of SPOT/Landsat data is on-going since 1999 delivered to a wide range of customers, mainly in the forestry domain. Recently Metria acquired an order of nationwide colouring of panchromatic aerial orthophotos with satellite data. This is published on Internet on national search engines for private, commercial and public addresses and telephone numbers. More detailed information than in “Goggle Earth” is now public available for Sweden.

“pan aerial orthophoto coloured by satellite data”
Metria Miljöanalys
Metria is represented in EARSC by Metria Miljöanalys, which is Metria’s unit for Earth Observation applications. Metria Miljöanalys, based in Stockholm, is a service provider that focuses on the operational use of remote sensing and GIS techniques for forestry and environmental applications as well as security-related aspects. The personnel at Metria Miljöanalys have a thorough knowledge and a long-term experience in remote sensing and GIS, and have a combination of academic and professional expertise in various relevant fields. This includes a combination of academic and professional expertise in the fields of biology, ecology, physical geography, forestry, technical engineering, environmental monitoring and management at regional and national levels. Project management skills at regional to international level are also well documented. These past and present engagements have led to a vast network of co-operation partners and well established contacts with users. This user network includes Swedish users from county to national level, as well as users within the Baltic Sea Region. In our entire project portfolio, users play a vital and active role. About 2/3 of Metria Miljöanalys yearly turnaround of about 2.2 MEuro derives from services to customers and 1/3 from R&D funding (national, EU 6th framework etc).
”SPOT-VGT classification of Baltic sea region”

Environmental applications

Environmental applications include mapping of state and changes in the environment. Analyses of requested environmental parameters are also part of delivered services. Most important customers are the Swedish Environment Protection Agency and County administrative boards.
Large areas in Sweden are supposed to be protected until 2010 and to locate potential areas of interest multitemporal satellite data where used to provide customers with an analysis of “large areas of untouched forests”. This was then used in order to find new areas to protect. Metria Miljöanalys has an on-going service where all protected areas (national parks, nature reserves, Natura2000-sites) are mapped on regular basis. This information are also utilised in regional analysis of future needs for protection. Metria is also highly involved in the ongoing Natura2000 mapping in Sweden. Recently also marine and coastal habitats are mapped and analysed by GIS and remote sensing. Nordic co-operation is ongoing within this application.
Metria Miljöanalys was programme manager for the RESE (Remote Sensing for the Environment) programme, 1997-2005. It was the largest research programme for applied remote sensing in Sweden, with an overall budget of 10 MEuro, and included development of user-oriented applications for remote sensing, also for “non-EO experts” within research and private/public organisations.
Metria produced CLC2000 for Sweden, but also developed and produced a more refined land cover product with minimum mapping unit of 1-5 hectares. Both these productions were fully digitally and highly automated. More regional land cover classifications include participation in Global Land Cover 2000 and a regional land cover database, BALANS, both covering the entire Baltic Sea Region. Metria was the coordinator of the latter project, which was financed within the EU framework programme. Metria is a partner in GSE Land and geoland (6th framework) projects.
” Mapping of National park, Tyresta”

Forestry applications

Within the forestry domain the Swedish Forest Agency as well as private forest companies are the most important customers. A wide range of services are offered and used in operational forestry. The Swedish Forest Agency use nationwide satellite data yearly for mapping of forest cuttings, detect need for pre-commercial thinning and as image background in GIS. Metria Miljöanalys have developed a tool, ENFORMA, especially for mapping of forest parameters such as forest cuttings (changes), forest damage and need for other forest operations. This tool is used by non-EO experts at the Forest Agency and forest companies and also used for production of services at Metria for Sweden and abroad. Other services based on EO data for the forestry domain includes mapping of errors in forest stand databases and mapping of forest of interest for timber purchase.
During the large hurricane in Sweden, early 2005, Metria mapped storm felled forest rapidly (part of the International Charter for Disaster) and has also developed a service for power distribution companies to map areas with great risks for power failures in forehand. This service is delivered recurrently.
Metria is a partner in GSE Forest Monitoring and in the EOMD-project Monitor.

“ENFORMA-application”

Security applications
EO services concerning security are both for civilian and military use. Metria supplies the Swedish Armed Forces with EO support, including semi-automatic 3D modelling of urban areas in satellite data. Also the Swedish Rescue services get satellite maps and analyses, for example after the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in December 2004. A co-operation with the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate has developed the use of EO data for nuclear inspections and Metria Miljöanalys are involved in remote sensing training at IAEA since 2000.
Both development and production of services to humanitarian aid has been ongoing since 1999. A co-operation with UNOSAT and UNHCR has supported the development of requested services, both different types of satellite maps and semi-automatic shelter mapping in very-high resolution satellite data. Metria Miljöanalys is a partner in GSE RISK-EOS, PREVIEW (6th framework), Astro+ (6th framework) and GSE RESPOND.

“ Shelter identifier in VHR EO data”

More ifo at:

Metria Miljöanalys
Contact person: Erik Willén
Address: P.O. Box 24154, SE-104 51 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46-8-579 972 75
Fax: +46-8-579 972 80
E-mail: erik.willen@lm.se
Website: http://www.metria.se/

Integrated Geographical Data Management Systems
Planetek Italia has been founded in 1994 positioning itself in the emerging market on the integration of satellite Earth Observation data within Geographical Information System. The company approach has always been a user centric one, fostering an alignment of the technology with the customer needs. In few years the company became a very well known brand within the European Research and Development arena, becoming an important contractor of the European Space Agency in the field of Earth Observation services development. More recently several opportunities in the field of Security and Natural Risk mitigation and management entered the scope of the company. A culture of organization, quality management and sound financial administration characterize the business model of Planetek Italia s.r.l.
Planetek Italia has been established in Bari, southern Italy, by the actual stakeholders. Good experience of the present CEO of the company in the field of space activities suggested an approach to the emerging market of Earth Observation and GIS supported by the user pull, more than inclined to the technology push of other market player. This attitude was also supported by a cross fertilization between the actual customer needs and the capabilities descending from the European research activities with the European Union, in the Framework Research Programs, and even more with European Space Agency. The company growth intercepted the emerging claim for a “useful” research by the Agency, offering a natural test bed for space assets with real world user.
With the clear objective of building a problem solver company Planetek Italia searched a strategic relation with Users as well as the opportunity of procure state of the art technology by universities and research centres. But clear model business it’s not enough, to make successfully a company, also management and business administration are fundamental. Planetek Italia management was convinced that the strengths of the company was flexibility and human resources, for this reason a ERP program was developed and integrated with administration. The flow of each single project is monitored this way in compliance to the ISO 9001 2000 quality control system of the company. Also the company organization, trough flexible “Cluster” approach reflect the policy of the management. In the last three years Planetek Italia invested in R&D more then 1 M€, and each year more than 3% of total manpower is devoted to training and education.
In 2005 the company topped the 3 M€ revenue target and started a reverse value engineering process with two goals, prepare growth and preserve margins: Planetek Extended approach was ignited. The idea was to leverage on the good relation with university and at the same time benefit from the opportunities of new emerging geographical market, and new service and products. An extended company increase the capabilities to address a wider range of services, in this way the company capabilities become virtually unlimited, the only limits become the partner procurement and it’s management. As a later development of this approach we can site the establishment of a company spin-off called Geo-K, in Italy, and a sister company in Greece, called Planetek Hellas
Planetek Italia Technical Background
Photo Credits: ©ESA
Planetek Italia capabilities are based on mastering a set of enabling technologies integrated with supporting technologies. The role of system integration platform is normally played by GIS software development. These systems normally provide the software tools and primitives to handle geographic information, design powerful man machine interface, interact with geodatabase and naturally with more traditional alphanumerical database.
The increasing use of network based application, and their use of huge image (so called raster) data set require also a specific software integration platform that is provided by the image web server™ architecture, on witch Planetek Italia deliver it’s Carta@net™ solution for WebGIS applications.
The company has a wide experience as turnkey system integrator, software developer and solution provider. Planetek Italia is oriented to the solution rather than the technology; anyway it masters all the IT technology in order to offer state of the art solutions.
Transform data remotely sensed by satellite system into useful information call for special abilities. The information extraction, or value adding on this data involve competence on statistical image processing, signal processing, data mining. More than this a peculiar capability reside in the elicit of user need, transform this in structured requirements and from this define clear system specification. This activity is particularly complicated by the need of fusion of disparate data set originating from sources spanning from microwaves to ultraviolet, through visible and infrared.
As mentioned the Planetek Italia approach is founded on the use of GIS technology as data integration platform for data and applications. Even recently a vigorous effort have been produced in penance the capabilities of this systems in terms of user interface, flexibility, compliance to common standard, a non trivial activity of ad hoc personalization and interface with other tools, such as image processing tools, or flow control software should be deployed.
Furthermore new application and user requirements drive huge development, successfully mastered by Planetek Italia:
  1. The integration of physical networks and numerical models
  2. The data security issues
  3. The integration with navigational hardware like GPS terminals and telecommunication devices.
An example of this are the fleet management system solution provided by Planetek Italia where position information gathered by satellite navigation system is forwarded by GPRS wireless to GIS based control system that serves both back office requirements of the customer (fleet maintenance, security, service level monitoring, scheduling etc…) as well as passenger support services (schedule, display, reservation, etc.).
Application Fields
Planetek Italia deliverable consist in system and services that’s are instances of theirs capabilities with several application areas. Many are the international projects developed in cooperation with european partners in various non exclusive application fields such as Environmental monitoring, Civil Protection, Natural risks mitigation, Protection of waters and sealife, Agricultural and Forest monitoring, Technological Networks and Transport monitoring, European Security and Defence, Planetary Exploration. Details and documentation of international projects developed (e.g. SLAM Service, Kyoto-INV, GMES Urban Service Vampire, Forfait, Balu, Meduc, Lewis) can be found on Planetek Italia website at http://www.planetek.it .
The Company provides also some of the most known products used in land management application and supports its customer in implementing knowledge and capacity through its routine and customized education programs.
Products and support on EO data (Ikonos, Spot, IRS, EROS), Image processing (ER Mapper, IWS, ECW Compressor), Desktop mapping and GIS (ESRI ArcGIS), Web Publishing (Image Web Server, Cart@net ).
Developed by Planetek Italia, Cart@net is the solution for the management and consultation of large raster datasets, ideal to distribute on-line catalogs of cartographic data. For some example please visit:
- Atlante Italiano (Italian Ministry of Environment)
(Cart@net Tsunami demo site)
Planetek Italia is a founder member of AIPAS, Italian Small and Medium Aerospace Enterprises Association, and is a member of AIT, Italian Remote Sensing Association. Planetek Italia is also member of AZIMUTH Consortium wich was formed to exploit the opportunities related to the GALILEO navigation system.
Photo Credits: ©ESA
The company gives a special attention to the growth of its territorial context. Planetek Italia believes in a continuous cooperation with research centers and with local and national universities to realize training stages, graduation theses, PhDs and scholarships successfully. At the same time, it started communication to promote the use of modern satellite monitoring techniques, organizing conferences, workshops and providing a free way, on its own web site, for a free complete course on remote sensing.
Planetek Italia S.r.l. is currently managed by founders of the company, Dr. Giovanni Sylos Labini (CEO), Dr. Maria Pappalepore (CFO), Dr. Vincenzo Barbieri (CMO) and Dr. Sergio Samarelli (CTO).
“Cart@net is a trademark of Plenetek Italia S.r.l.. Satellite images are a copyright of European Space Agency. Other trademarks are the porperty of teh respective owners. Planetek Italia S.r.l. is not responsible for unauthorized or any abuse in using data and information of the present document. For any question please contact abuse@planetek.it
Planetek Italia S.r.l.
Address: Via Massaua 12, I-70123 Bari (Italy)
Phone: +39 080 5343750
Fax: +39 080 5340280
Contact Person: Paolo Manunta