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On Wednesday March 18, we welcome all students at the Eurosense & Esri BeLux headquarters in Wemmel (Belgium) to discover remote sensing and GIS in practice !

What can you expect ?

  • Meet GIS and remote sensing experts
  • Practical cases – success stories – demo’s
  • Information on internships and careers at Eurosense and Esri BeLux

The Students’ Day is a must for everyone who wants to learn the full potential of remote sensing and GIS in practice.

You come in contact with other students and you can ask your questions to Eurosense & Esri BeLux experts. You will also hear testimonials and see use cases and demos.

Participation is free but registration in advance is required, via the Esri BeLux website.

Why did you found ExoLabs and what is the goal of the company?

Our planet is everchanging. Timely information about these environmental changes are valuable but not always readily available. ExoLabs’ mission is to quantify global changes by providing novel and user-friendly Earth Observation products and services. We use machine learning algorithms in a scalable cloud computing environment to process Earth Observation data on local to global scales. Hereby, we specialized on combining data from multiple EO constellations to provide near-real time products in a high spatial and temporal resolution. We strive to be the leading company in Switzerland for high-quality products and services based on EO. In addition, we also develop in-house solutions for data processing and advanced analysis.

Can you tell us more about your products and services? What makes them unique?  

Being based in Switzerland, monitoring snow is an obvious choice to start with. Our snow products are highly advanced as they combine multiple innovations under one hood. We monitor global snow cover changes on a daily basis in near-real time. Our product is based on a novel snow classification algorithm and features seamless snow cover gap free of cloud gaps. For selected mountain ranges (Alps, Rockies, Himalaya) we additionally provide snow cover in a high 20 m pixel resolution. Everyone can check out these products on our mobile app “ExoSnow”. On top, we developed a novel snow depth algorithm, that provides snow depth estimates in a 20 m resolution on a daily basis. Our PARSEC video further details our approach, which combines a high temporal resolution AND a high spatial resolution AND a very high thematic quality in a fully operational process. Next to the app, we provide direct data access (e.g. APIs, WMTS) based on our customer’s needs. Further state-of-the-art developments include a land cover and land use classification system based on deep machine learning algorithms using multimodal data inputs in a cm-scale spatial resolution for the area of Switzerland. Crucial to the success of this federal project were innovative, ready-to-use solutions for processing multiple TBs of geodata, highlighting our capabilities to extract meaningful information from diverse and extensive datasets.

What challenges did you face when starting your company? What is the biggest challenge as a young European company in the EO sector today?

Initially, we had to acquire new projects with industry partners and federal institutions to earn a reputation and co-finance our product developments. This path is not finished yet. But now, we further focus on extending our network, winning over new customers, and exploring new market opportunities. Our biggest challenge might be to make potential customers aware of the added value we can provide for them. Starting a company is a daring adventure, which we really enjoy. We consider these challenges along this path as opportunities to grow.

What are your plans for the future? Do you want to stay in the snow and ice domain or are you planning to serve also other markets?

Over the next 2-3 years, we plan to increase sales, acquire new projects and expand our EO-product offerings. Further snow products will include snow properties, forecasts, and long-term trends. In previous projects, we already provided products on global crop monitoring as well as regional land cover and land use changes. In addition, we plan to diversify our product pallet on further environmental changes based on customer needs. Transferring our processing chain with the same product characteristics of high spatial and temporal resolution to other thematic EO-products, such as forests, can be readily done. If you are interested to learn more about our products, services and capabilities, you are very welcome to contact us.

Air pollution causes many premature deaths, and has a negative impact on the economy, and even on biological equilibrium. Thanks to the European Earth observation program Copernicus, we have access to up-to-date information on air quality, which powers a number of tools that make life easier, such as applications for planning physical activity in the city.

According to the World Health Organization, 9 per 10 inhabitants of the Earth breathe polluted air, which causes the deaths of as many as seven million people per year. The European Earth observation project has made it possible to develop the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), which monitors, reports and forecasts air quality. The service can help us minimize the impact of pollution and adapt to the changes that we are witnessing. For example, CAMS uses data generated by Sentinel-5P, the first satellite launched by the European Space Agency (ESA), dedicated to atmosphere monitoring.

Low air quality causes heart diseases, stroke, tumors and digestive conditions. It is the cause of many premature deaths. WHO estimates that air pollution by 2050 will be the biggest threat to the environment that we have ever experienced.

An application for people who exercise in the city

We all know that regular sports activity helps us improve our fitness and stay healthy for years, but for many people, not only those with heart or lung conditions, exercising in the city can be risky when there is a high level of pollution, as cities are where air quality is the worst.

Scientists at the University of Leicester are currently working on a mobile application that uses satellite data to map the level of air pollution in cities. The app not only alerts users to the conditions outside, but also suggests the best possible route for a long walk or run.

“Chronically ill patients, also those suffering from heart and lung conditions, are recommended physical activity, but doctors often have doubts and concerns about which exercises exactly they can recommend,” says Prof. Andre Ng, University of Leicester, UK. “The mobile application on which we are working will focus on the patient. The user will receive individual, accurate exercise recommendations based on their health condition and abilities, additionally taking into account up-to-date satellite data on air quality in a given location. This kind of model can encourage doctors to recommend physical activity more often, and at the same time motivate patients to exercise,” explains Prof. Andre Ng.

The application will use data from the Sentinel-5P satellite, which is equipped with a specialized sensor called Tropomi that detects chemical compounds such as nitrogen oxide, ozone, methane, or carbon monoxide.

Satellites for special missions

“Satellites are currently driving the growth of the space industry, representing two thirds of its total revenue,” says Przemysław Mujta, Technical Sales Manager at CloudFerro, a Polish company that delivers cloud solutions for the European CREODIAS and WEkEO platforms, which share satellite images as part of the Copernicus Earth observation project. “In addition to acquiring high-resolution data, Sentinel-5P can monitor an area as wide as 2,600 km, which enables precise mapping of the entire planet every 24 hours. 5P, which can detect volcanic ash, is also used to monitor active volcanoes,” explains Przemysław Mujta.

As low air quality is the cause of many premature deaths, using tools that can monitor air accurately is more important than ever before. Sentinel-5P will certainly contribute to popularizing the subject of atmosphere pollution, especially because air pollution data is increasingly the object of interest of not only professional researchers but also the public administration and local governments, as well as individuals. For example, it is used by urban planners, who manage urban traffic based on pollution level data to avoid exceeding a specific pollution emissions level. When pollution in the city becomes too high, the local government may decide to close educational facilities for the youngest children. Information on the level of air pollution is also useful to people who exercise outside, because it lets them avoid breathing in harmful substances when the level becomes too high.

According to Copernicus Market Report, the air quality monitoring services market will grow by 4.6 percent annually to reach EUR 430 billion by 2022. 

The problem of drought in the changing climate of Poland is increasingly affecting the local farmers. This season, nearly 4 million hectares of crops fell short of rainfall. Poland’s Agency for Restructuring and Modernization of Agriculture is providing public aid to combat this, however many useful tools that are currently available for farmers to foresee and act in advance of problems, are still not used as they should.

Information from satellites can help in increasing agricultural productivity, despite difficult conditions

The world is on the verge of the third modern revolution in agribusiness related to precision farming. The first revolution caused by the mechanization of agriculture at the beginning of the 20th century enabled one farmer to create resources for 26 people. The second - "green" - took place in the 90s and was associated with obtaining genetically modified plant species resistant to pests and requiring less water. It resulted in an increase in the number of people possible for one farmer to 155. Thanks to the third, which is based on increasing analytical capabilities and the development of new technologies, each farmer can produce food for 256 people.

Increase in Power

As population increase and shrink as a result of climate change, fertile cropland resources face the challenge of increasing production efficiency per hectare. This is related to soil type, irrigation, application of fertilization or atmospheric conditions. Thanks to big data analysis, which provides information from Earth observation, all these elements can be examined for optimal results.

One of the largest sources of information about conditions on our planet are pictures from satellites. They create new technologies, applications and services that optimize various processes and facilitate human functioning on Earth.

"Every day, the CREODIAS platform receives a huge amount of valuable information from satellites orbiting the Earth. Companies and startups interested in using them, which need high computing power to analyze larger data repositories, can use our ready cloud infrastructure. This significantly reduces their cost of entering the market" - says Urszula Mielcarz from CloudFerro, the operator of DIAS platforms - CREODIAS and WEkEO, sharing satellite imagery implemented as part of the European Earth observation program Copernicus.

The market for products and services using information from space is growing dynamically. As for Europe and the Copernicus program, according to a recent report (Copernicus Market Report 2018), the use of Earth observation data in agriculture alone generates over EUR 18 million in revenue annually. And in the coming years, this value will grow by over 20% annually. This market has huge development potential and a field for operation also for Polish companies from the IT sector.

"Applications using data on precipitation, temperature, soil moisture, fertilization, etc. are already supporting farmers in managing crops. They can help reduce the use of pesticides and other fertilizers, plan optimal irrigation or detect plant diseases. A great example of the possibilities offered by information is the observation of bee activity. Current data from satellites allows you to plan spraying so as not to harm insects. There are infinitely many situations in which the potential of observation from space can be used "- explains Urszula Mielcarz.

Dutch global database

Monitoring of crop condition, soil condition and properties, and mapping of cultivation activities are key to harvest prediction. Satellite data can also be used to monitor changes in agricultural and crop production efficiency due to drought. What's more, satellites enable monitoring of soil degradation trends and a decrease in land productivity as a result of excessive grazing, improper irrigation or farming.

In response to the projected population growth and increasingly demanding growing conditions, the Dutch organization Waterwatch Cooperative is developing a global database on weather, water supply and growing conditions. It aims to help farmers produce food more efficiently, profitably and sustainably. Using a wide range of sources, including satellite data, the organization wants to record and analyze crop data for the entire globe.

"Thanks to our solutions, the farmer will no longer be lonely in making decisions on which not only his profit depends, but also the situation on local food markets," says Ad Bastiaansen, the creator of the company. - "Our application allows you to reduce cases of plant diseases by up to 40 percent and reduce the use of pesticides by 15 percent. We estimate that by the end of the year up to one million farmers around the world can use our application," he adds.

Understanding the images

Today, access to data from space is open - for more than a year, anyone with access to the Internet can enter one of the DIAS platforms, e.g. CREODIAS, generate information of interest to him and analyze it, from any angle. The biggest challenge associated with the use of satellite images is the need for specialists who will deal with their analysis and "translation", or processing, so that everyone interested can use them. However, the informational value of space data is priceless and timeless.

Today, over 16 petabytes of data are stored under CREODIAS. For more, please access www.creodias.eu

ARCTUS Inc. (CA), a subsidiary of ACRI-ST, is pleased to announce that its project "earth observation solutions addressing coastal erosion issue, their impacts on ecosystems and the risks to infrastructure assets" has been selected in the Climate Change Impacts and Ecosystem Resilience (CCIER) programme of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The project was prepared with Argans Ltd of Plymouth (UK), another subsidiary of ACRI-ST, Hatfield Consultants of Vancouver (CA), and the Chair of coastal geoscience at the University of Québec in Rimouski /UQAR (CA). It shall extend the work of the ESA-funded ‘Coastal Erosion’ project monitored by Olivier Arino at ESA/ESRIN in Frascati (IT), which is led by the aforementioned  Argans Ltd (UK), and involves national institutes such as BGS (UK), GSI (IR), and IHCantabria (SP), or their commercial delegates such as IGN-FI (FR), as well as companies such as isardSat (SP), the aforementioned ARCTUS (CA), and adwäisEO (LU), another ACRI-ST subsidiary.

New Earth Observation (EO) products, specifically designed to help monitor the impact of climate change on coastal zones with ice presence, shall be tested for their usefulness in policy planning and coastal management decision-making. These new EO products, and related novel tools, if adopted, would be used as part of local policy implementation to help mitigate vulnerabilities. It is the first step in the implementation of an effective monitoring system capable of providing up-to-date information on coastal areas, including shore-ice width and thickness in winter time, suspended sediment transport, shoreline erosion or accretion, and the status of coastal vegetated habitats, whose dynamics may allow the forecast of changes to-come.

Arctus Inc. is a private R&D company providing research, development and applications in remote sensing, Earth Observation and Geographical Information System (GIS) technologies for governmental agencies, scientific communities and the general public. Our company is specialized optical remote sensing of aquatic environments, from lakes to oceans.

Website: https://www.acri-st.fr/fr/ ; http://arctus.ca ; https://argans.co.uk/

Contact ACRI-ST: pierre.leonard@acri-st.fr ; craig.jacobs@acri-st.fr

Every year, the innovation award is a highlight of the TechConnect event in Boston, USA. This year, the rasdaman datacube technology received the prestigious award from the industry prospectors looking for breakthrough technologies.

The TechConnect Innovation Awards identify the top 15% of submitted technologies as ranked by the TechConnect Corporate & Investment Partner Committee. Innovation rankings are based on the impact the submitted technology will have on a specific industry sector. Innovations are submitted globally, ranging from academia over government and corporate research laboratories to small and large industry.

The TechConnect Innovation Award, highlighting top industry vetted technologies, attests that rasdaman heralds a new generation of services on massive, distributed spatio-temporal data standing out through its flexibility, performance and scalability, security, and open standards.

"We are proud about this leadership acknowledgement expressed by TechConnect Boston", says Peter Baumann, Principal Architect of rasdaman and CEO. "The continuous line of innovation awards, such as the NITEC Innovation Award 2018, is a strong incentive for the team to maintain its strong pace of innovation."

For over 20 years the TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo has connected top applied research and early-stage innovations from universities, labs, and startups with industry end-users and prospectors. TechConnect has published over 10,000 technical papers, connected over 20,000 innovations with industry partners, provided prospecting to most all Fortune 500 technology companies, and supported most every U.S. Science and Technology agency since its inception.

More information:

Description

jeobrowser is a consultancy and software development SME specializing in geographical information systems and Earth Observation field. It was founded in 2010 by Jérôme Gasperi and it is based in Toulouse, France.

For years jeobrowser has been developing cutting edge applications in the EO domain. It’s open source EO catalog and semantic search engine (resto) is at the core of several projects including the French Sentinel Data Processing Center (PEPS), the THEIA Land Data Center and the CREODIAS catalog. On the client side, the rocket web application won the 2016 “European EO product of the year” award from EARSC.

jeobrowser is involved in the development of the 2016 Copernicus Masters ESA App Challenge winner – SnapPlanet. SnapPlanet offers citizens and storytellers a new medium to educate and communicate about the social, economic and environmental issues that we face today on a global in a more impactful and trustworthy way by providing a social mobile app to easily access, process and share Earth Observation imagery.

Applications

iTag

Semantic enhancement of Earth Observation data

iTag is a web service for the semantic enhancement of Earth Observation products, i.e. the tagging of products with additional information about the covered area, regarding for example geology, water bodies, land use, population, countries, administrative units or names of major settlements.

resto

REST search engine for geOspatialized data

resto is a metadata catalogue and a search engine dedicated to geospatialized data.

Originally, it’s main purpose it to handle Earth Observation satellite imagery but it can be used to store any kind of metadata localized in time and space. resto search API is compliant with the CEOS OpenSearch Best Practice Document and is mentioned in ESA’s « Exploitation Platform Common Core Components » as the closest implementation of a catalogue component according to the requirements specified in ESA's Exploitation Platform Open Architecture.

resto have been used in several projects including:

• CREODIAS

• Rocket - The Earth in your pocket

• The French Sentinel Data Processing center, PEPS

• The French Space Agency, THEIA land data center

• The Polish EO Data finder

• Remote Sensor Technology Center of Japan, EPIC project

• Sentinel Australia Regional Access

• Sinergise sentinel-hub OpenSearch API

• ESA's Food Security Thematic Exploitation Platform

• ESA's Forestry Thematic Exploitation Platform

rocket

The Earth in your pocket

rocket is a Web application that provides a unique entry point to search, visualize and download Earth Observation products from various catalogs.

SnapPlanet
An app for everyone to create and share pictures of the Earth from Space
Download the app here.

« As the very first Earth observation social network, SnapPlanet brings EO data to the mass market in a fashionable and easy to use way. Amongst other benefits, the application provides its users the opportunity to explore, post, share and print the latest and best Sentinel-2 imagery. SnapPlanet combines the ever-increasing availability of Earth observation images with the advantages of a social network for everyone. »

Dr Thomas Beer
Copernicus Policy Coordinator
European Space Agency (ESA)

SnapPlanet is a social network with the aim to harness the use of Earth observation data to address individual, societal, environmental and economic needs through user- and community-oriented services. SnapPlanet is a mobile application in which users can choose a location around the world at a given time, “snap” it, and share the precise pictures of places taken from satellites with their followers. SnapPlanet provides this service for free, using Sentinel-2 imagery. The medium-term objective is to extend this service to include commercial sub metric imagery. Combined with high user demand and the increasing acquisition capabilities of satellites and drones, this will make selfies from space possible at the cost of a few euros. By providing citizens with access to EO images, SnapPlanet will be a catalyst of innovation and the creation of new EO databased services.

Frascati, 11 September 2019 - At the occasion of the Earth Observation Phi-Week at the European Space Agency (ESA) centre in Frascati this week, a unique consortium of specialised space companies announces the development of a new Earth Observation satellite called ‘MANTIS’. This name stands as an acronym for ‘Mission and Agile Nanosatellite for Terrestrial Imagery Services’. MANTIS will be the demonstration mission to jointly develop, build, launch and operate an innovative nanosatellite platform, flying a high resolution Earth Observation camera.

The project, funded under the UK Space Agency contribution to the ESA InCubed program, brings together the expertise of three space companies. Open Cosmos from the UK will provide the design, manufacturing, testing, launch and operation of the mission based on a new generation 12U spacecraft platform, Satlantis from Spain will build the high spatial resolution camera, while Terrabotics from the UK will use its novel data analysis to satisfy the needs of their energy and mining customers.

Open Cosmos envisions this MANTIS satellite to be the first of an aggregated constellation operated by Open Cosmos where customers will have access to diverse types and volumes of information depending on the number of satellites contributed to the constellation. This will enable organisations of all sizes and sectors to not only leverage their own space infrastructure (developed and managed by Open Cosmos) but also benefit from additional datasets and services from satellites that Open Cosmos manages and operates for others.

This first MANTIS satellite is particularly suitable for applications in the energy and mining sector. Companies in these sectors are increasingly carrying out more complex and expensive projects in search of resources, where up to 60% can be found in more remote, hostile and hazardous regions around the world. In addition, two thirds of major projects fail (i.e. over-budget or delayed) due to unforeseen risks and hazards as a result of inadequate upfront due diligence, planning and prior knowledge of the challenging operating environments. Actionable intelligence is of key importance and highly needed to be able to increase safety, be able to better plan and mitigate the risks of projects run by these industries.

The MANTIS satellite will address these challenges with periodic statistics reports on activity in the regions of interest, computed through the latest data processing and machine learning techniques on top of other data sets, such as Copernicus. The satellite will obtain images to feed these data processing algorithms in a revisit pattern that is optimised for specific areas of interest. The high resolution of these images will be complementary to lower resolution data that is already available from the Copernicus programme.

Josef Aschbacher, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes, said: “MANTIS is an example of how the European New Space sector supported by the ESA Investing in Industrial Innovation (InCubed) programme can leverage world class European competences along the entire Earth Observation value chain, creating value in the fast-growing Earth Observation commercial sector designed to support specific business verticals.”

Beth Greenaway, Head of Earth Observation for the UK Space Agency added: “Observations of the Earth from space are central to modern day life in helping us to monitor climate change, map our environment, forecast the weather and now – finding new resources. The UK is a world leader in the rapidly growing Earth Observation sector and the high number of applications for this programme is a testament to that. I look forward to discussing future plans at the forthcoming European Space Agency Council of Ministers in November, where we will be reaffirming our ESA membership.”

Rafel Jordá Siquier, founder and CEO of Open Cosmos said: “Open Cosmos is very excited to work on this next generation Earth Observation satellite. This project shows that bringing together the best specialists in their fields, in this case Open Cosmos, Satlantis and Terrabotics, leads to great technical performance improvements of Earth Observation platforms, while at the same time significantly reducing time to orbit, complexity and cost of these systems.”

Gareth Morgan, CEO of Terrabotics said “We are thrilled to be a part of the MANTIS mission. It is very exciting for us to have the opportunity to collaborate with the entire consortium on the development of an innovative, vertically integrated Earth Observation solution for application to the natural resources industry.”

Juan Tomás Hernani, CEO of Satlantis declared: “MANTIS is a major breakthrough to provide new cubesats with very high resolution native multispectral Earth Observation technology, delivering fast projects that will empower customers with real time performance. Ecosystems proposals like Satlantis/Open Cosmos/Terrabotics is the new way that the sector responds to the GeoInformation needs of industry.”


More information about Open Cosmos: https://open-cosmos.com/

More information about Satlantis: https://satlantis.com/

More information about Terrabotics: http://www.terrabotics.co.uk/

More information about the ESA InCubed programme: http://blogs.esa.int/philab/2018/07/11/incubed-launched/

More information about the UK Space Agency second call for ESA InCubed proposals: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2nd-call-for-uk-incubed-proposals

More information about the ESA Earth Observation Phi-Week: https://phiweek.esa.int

Airbus fully believes in and is committed to the distribution of satellite imagery and services via digital platforms. Over the past two years, we have invested heavily in our digital infrastructures, designed for distributing our own high resolution optical and radar imagery, together with Copernicus Data and Core Services. In addition to OneAtlas and Sobloo, we have also developed UP42, as an independent and agnostic platform aggregating all kinds of data processing and algorithms to act as a catalyst to boost the geospatial market and support developers worldwide.

The Sobloo platform exposure amongst the user community will be increased by promoting some of the data and services on OneAtlas and Up42. This will allow to bring the Sobloo offer to our own existing and expanding customer base whilst at the same time exposing the Sobloo community to a wider range of data, services. Ultimately it will give new horizons to Sobloo users that will benefit from all the processing and data bricks provided by OneAtas and Up42.