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Michal Brichta is a co-founder of the newly-established Slovak Space Office and the head of its Industry Branch working under the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO). In 2019 he initiated a new strategic approach to the comprehensive development of national space industry capabilities. Building on this approach, his team works today to support the further development of the Slovak space sector and its internationalisation with a focus on full utilisation of the country’s strong industrial and R&D potential as well as on the 21st century‘s newspace trends.

Context: Slovakia is not new to space. Already in seventies, our researchers and engineers were participating in international missions to develop space hardware. Since then, there has been a continued involvement of Slovak research and development in major international space missions such as Rosetta, Bepicolombo or JUICE. Today, the sector is still benefitting from these decades of experience which helps the emerging space industry. Currently, Slovakia counts more than 40 established companies actively involved in the space sector. Half of them focus on the upstream segment, but most of the space-related revenue is concentrated in software applications using Earth observation or navigation data. On top of that, there is a strong potential for future sector development coming from the industrial base as well, with key pillars of the Slovak economy including IT, electronics, high-precise machinery, or automotive.

Question 1- Could you introduce the Slovak Space office and the current Earth Observation (EO) landscape in Slovakia?

The Slovak Space Office consists of two components. The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic is responsible for inter-ministerial political coordination and multilateral international cooperation (European Space Agency, European Union, United Nations). Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency – SARIO covers the implementation part of the agenda, especially developing the space ecosystem, local and international partnerships. We engage in a wide variety of activities ranging from sector-entry support, start-up creation and technology transfer activities, through international network creation, awareness building, and matchmaking, to local outreach activities focused at future generations of space professionals.

Downstream EO is currently the domain with the highest number of Slovak companies involved. More than a dozen of companies work on a wide variety of highly interesting and competitive solutions including infrastructure and land deformation monitoring, solar radiation monitoring, meteorological forecasting and modelling, forest disturbance mapping and monitoring, natural habitat monitoring, or early warning systems. 

Question 2- What are the objectives and the main priorities of SARIO?

Slovakia has recently become the newest associate member (AM) of ESA, which opens new possibilities for international cooperation. Over the past three years, our priority was to make our ecosystem ready for this transition and develop the necessary international network and support. Now with AM in force, our new priority will be to go through this transition as efficiently as possible.

In general, our main objective is to ensure that the Slovak space ecosystem systematically grows its capabilities and is considered a relevant and reliable international partner within the 21st century space economy and research. For that we have developed a three-point strategic approach consisting of maximising the utilisation of the space ecosystem’s full potential, diversifying the funding sources and markets to create a stable and resilient space ecosystem prepared for the opportunities and challenges of these days, and building a strong international position in the sector both in technological and non-technological areas.

Question 3- How do you envision the inclusion of EO for both public and private

We find the overall topic of promoting and facilitating the use of space technology for terrestrial applications very important. Satellites provide us with large amounts of data that are easily accessible for researchers and companies transforming them into useful applications in a broad range of areas including transportation, finance, agriculture, energy and infrastructure or environmental protection, making them an important part of our everyday lives.

Downstream, and EO segment in particular, has grown into a strong part of the Slovak space economy and it also draws significant interest of young entrepreneurs and researchers as we could see during our CASSINI hackathon in November 2021 or the first batch of our newly-launched incubation programme.

Question 4-  How can EARSC support your activities and missions?

With EARSC we share an important part of our mission objectives. One of them is promoting the value of Earth observation and creating business and R&D opportunities in this dynamically growing domain. Another crucial one is promoting internationalisation of space collaboration. Here we do not only engage in activities focused on helping our companies and researchers to find new partners and get involved in international projects and value chains. Understanding the importance of democratisation of space for the benefit, resilience and efficient development of the European space sector as well as global space community, we also carry out our systematic undertaking aimed at supporting the development of emerging space ecosystems and bridging them with well-established players of the global space economy. Along with our flagship event Emerging Space, we have already brought this important topic to various major international platforms including UN COPUOS, IAC, or World Expo, and we are dedicated to continue in this endeavour. I truly look forward to further exploring all these synergies we have with EARSC and working on joint activities.

With the second phase of the programme having come to an end in December 2021, it’s worth a moment to reflect on the success the PARSEC Accelerator programme was able to achieve throughout its first and second phases, along with PARSEC’s lasting impact beyond these phases.

An innovation ecosystem fuelled by Earth Observation

PARSEC was designed to help small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups turn their ideas into commercial products and services onto the market by fuelling them with Earth Observation (EO) technologies, through an acceleration programme. More specifically, PARSEC focused on supporting these companies apply EO technology to address challenges in the emerging food, energy and environment sectors. These sectors are of high priority for society and were selected based on their increasing need to innovate in order to efficiently address the rise in food and energy consumption and the pressure on the environmental sustainability. 

Throughout the two stages, a total of 113 SMEs received support to create and improve new EO-fuelled services for the chosen sectors. This holistic support was organised around four pillars: access to knowledge, markets, technology and capital. Some of the resources compiling these four pillars are available to the public, such as PARSEC Business Catalysts or PARSEC Insights.

PARSEC’s lasting impact

Setting out to inspire innovation using EO technology, PARSEC has successfully enabled the creation of 15 impressive solutions that are now currently available on the market and/or ready to be scaled up to continue driving success. The sustained upward momentum of these solutions, in addition to the pioneering nature of the other solutions/services developed under of the umbrella of PARSEC, exemplify that EO-based innovation can revolutionize how food, energy and environment sectors operate to spur positive and lasting change that create value for society and the world. 

In addition, PARSEC demonstrates the direct impact EO can have on European entrepreneurship, as 31 out of the 100 companies selected for the first stage were newly created. Consortia applying for the Open Call 2 put forward 60 new EO-based solutions, and whilst 15 of these were selected for the second stage, several of the others continued to be developed independently outside the PARSEC Accelerator. Similarly, the PARSEC Business Catalysts will remain active and available to continue to support new and established EO-based services.

PARSEC video

The main success of the project – aside from the launch of 15 solutions and the successful support to 113 SMEs – was the creation and maintenance of the PARSEC ecosystem of SMEs, clusters, start-ups and other stakeholders. Furthermore, the PARSEC beneficiaries established strong cross-sectoral and cross-border partnerships, working together within PARSEC and other initiatives, fostering EO-based entrepreneurship. Overall, the successful and crucial work carried out over project’s lifetime have encouraged the consortium to continue supporting and participating in the PARSEC ecosystem and look into opportunities to build off the success of the project in the future.

Celebrating success

The project has paid special attention to the successful, strategic and sustainable dissemination of its final results: the development and commercialisation of 15 new EO-fuelled solutions. To this end, multiple actions have been carried out to promote and celebrate these solutions, notably, the organisation of a culmination event to present the project’s achievements and a Digital Showcase virtually presenting all 15 solutions and their developers.

Event picture

To mark the end of PARSEC’s second phase and to celebrate the success of the PARSEC community, a cullimination event – Launchpad to Success - was organised as a side event at Startup Valencia’s Digital Summit. The event consisted of PARSEC-dedicated events such as a pitching championship and face-to-face networking opportunities. In line with Digital Summit’s theme, Inspiring the good future, PARSEC also took to the Summit’s main stage to give a presentation on the generative power of EO technology to drive positive global impact, using PARSEC’s solution success stories as tangible examples. Learn more about the event here.

Showcase picture

Adapting to a more virtual environment, the PARSEC Digital Showcase was created with the members of #15PARSEC in mind. For each solution, a dedicated showcase page was crafted detailing the solution’s essential information. This promotional tool can be used by #15PARSEC to direct interested parties to an easy-to-use resource where they can quickly learn more about the solution, who’s created it and what they’ve already accomplished in their field. Explore the Digital Showcase for yourself here.

What’s next for PARSEC?

In understanding the magnitude of PARSEC’s lasting impact, the project team’s nine partners are continuing to examine options for the future of the accelerator beyond the end of the project. Specifically, the team is interested in continuing support for the development of EO-based products and services, and enabling access to finance, knowledge, markets and expertise. 

Are you interested in future partnership? Contact the PARSEC team today.

New to PARSEC? Check out this short summary:

The first PARSEC Open Call (Autumn-Winter 2019/2020) attracted 348 applications from 36 European countries. The 100 winners selected through the innovative peer-to-peer evaluation process became the so-called #100PARSEC. The 100 winners received €10.000 in equity-free funding and accessed the business support services of the first stage of the accelerator. 

With a major overarching objective being to promote the international competitiveness of European EO companies through cross-cluster collaboration, to apply for the Open Call 2 (Spring 2020), #100PARSEC teamed up, creating cross-border and/or cross-sectoral consortia of 2-4 SMEs. In total, the second call attracted 60 such consortia representing 142 SMEs (87 from within the accelerator and 55 “newcomers”) based in 32 countries. The winning 15 consortia or #15PARSEC were selected during the PARSEC Demo Days by a jury of experts consisting of industrial CEOs, investors and business leaders. These winning teams received access to funds (€100.000 per consortia) and to the second stage support services.

Visit the PARSEC website or check out a previous EO Mag article to learn more about the programme.

Eurosense is proud to announce that our project proposal, together with VIVES University of Applied Sciences (Kortrijk, Belgium), to create a 3D tree map based on Artificial Intelligence and citizen science has been approved by Mrs. Hilde Crevits, Vice-Minister-President of the Government of Flanders. This project combines three areas of expertise of Eurosense: geodata, artificial intelligence and urban green. The objective is to identify individual trees and key attributes (such as coordinates, height, crown area, etc.), and to calculate carbon stock – starting from different sources of geodata. Via a web app, the tree cadaster will be accessible and can be enriched by citizens and experts. Don’t hesitate to contact Eurosense for more information about this innovative project.

EO4GEO Alliance
: The importance of skills development for Europe economic growth was stressed by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen’s State of the Union Address, setting 2023 as the year of skills. The EO4GEO Alliance set as follow-up of the EO4GEO project with the aim to continue the EO4GEO activities as part of the Sector Skills Strategy defined for the EO*GI sector and to enlarge the partnership to all key stakeholders for skills and workforce (including upskilling and re-skilling) development in the space geo-information sector as mean to support social and economic growth.

Emmanuel Pajot, EARSC Secretary General

Welcome to the first eoMAG of 2022!

Despite the still ongoing pandemic, the EO ecosystem continued its development during 2021 last quarter.

-           From the institutional side, EUSPA finalized the signature of the agreements with the European Entrusted Entities and published last week its first report on the EO and GNSS market report (; ESA launched three Accelerators: Space for a green future, Rapid and resilient crisis response and Protection of space assets.

-           On the private side, companies such as Hydrosat, Satellogic and Planet raised significant capital, acquired other companies, and even the later went public with a $300 million war chest after SPAC deal. Additional capabilities entered in services such as Airbus Pléiades Neo 4 mid of December. Added values SMEs actors were also very dynamic, as illustrated by EOMAP creating a new office in Dubai.

2021 ended for EARSC with two key elements: the creation of a Working Group on the Green Deal with 25 companies involved and the closure of one of our project flagship PARSEC ( at Valencia Digital Summit 2021. With the support of the European Commission, PARSEC distributed 2.5M€ equity-free to 100+ SMEs.

I wish you a happy and safe start to the year and hope to see you in person soon.

Yana Gevorgyan, GEO Secretariat Director

For the winter edition of eoMAG! 62 we decided to interview Yana Gevorgyan, the new GEO Secretariat Director. On July 1st, 2021, Yana was appointed as the new GEO Secretariat Director. In October Yana joined our EOcafe as a speaker, and we discussed the future of GEO, the involvement with the private sector and EARSC’s collaboration within the GEO community. We take this opportunity to continue the dialogue with GEO and, therefore, would like to expand more on these topics. 

Yana, according to previous declarations, your vision for GEO includes strengthening GEO’s core membership participation in the organization’s mission, the connections with GEO’s regional structures and multisectoral partnerships. Could you please expand more on this? 

GEO was established by countries (GEO members) to ultimately improve decision making for the benefit of the society and the environment through the use of Earth observations. To achieve this, we must make full use of countries’ institutional networks and our partners across the information value chain. From coordinating access to key data from a variety of sources, to analyses with the help of standards from which relevant insights can be extracted and packaged for specific user communities. This is the long journey towards attaining our goals. Readers know that while this seems like a linear mission, in reality this journey is complex, multifaceted and requires coordination on many levels, at different timescales, with different sensitivities. 

GEO now has almost 120 members with many hundreds of national government agencies, as well as international organisations, non-governmental, civil society organisations, and the private sector. With such a large global community, we need to find different ways to ensure inclusiveness, as well as modes for engagement with all stakeholders. We know that many challenges today are global, but the actions and knowledge are mostly local. We use all available communication means and networks to increase our outreach to the national level. Regional GEO structures are invaluable in taking the global GEO vision and mission and programmatic activities and implementing them locally. 

The GEO work programme is also essential to supporting the GEO community and as such, participation and contributions from GEO members are incredibly important. Increased participation of our members in GEO activities is fundamental to our continued development, i.e., knowledge sharing and impact. As we approach the third decade of GEO in 2025, an era that will be defined by our ability to inform accelerated  actions to revert systems collapse and head off systemic risk, we want to take a more inclusive approach to problem solving. This means bringing together a broad range of experts, policymakers, and decision makers to focus on these challenges, rather than working alone in our areas of expertise. Multisectoral partnerships enable an integrative approach.  

What are the plans for GEO for the new future? What is the vision for GEO in the long-term?

As just mentioned, we really want to focus on bringing communities together to share knowledge around global challenges and to amplify the voices of our members. The policy landscape is vast and complex but so are the data and tools that are increasingly at our disposal. What we really want is to have as much EO data and information freely and openly available with domain experts and local communities advising on how they can use it directly for decision making. We need official statistics and other data combined with Earth observations to provide as much insight and evidence as possible. Recently a mid-term evaluation was done for GEO, which provides us with direction for the immediate future. It is not a coincidence that there is much emphasis on the need to better and more effectively connect with national and local level stakeholders. In the longer term, it’s all about continuing to support our members with open knowledge. 

How will GEO connect more with private stakeholders in the future?

As we bring more and more communities together, we need domain expertise, data, tools and services to help those communities make sense of all the information being produced. Our goal is to work more closely with small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) to work at the national and local community level to understand needs and challenges, now and in the future.  In this regard, the role of national actors is paramount as the private sector landscape differs from country to country, from region to region. Connections must be brokered, champions cultivated, relationships nurtured. 

What tools will GEO use to create more opportunities for the small, medium and micro-sized companies?

Communication is one powerful tool in our arsenal. In my previous answer I mentioned relationships that need to be brokered and nurtured. GEO has created a level playing field for the private sector to partner through GEO. So from the process point of view, we are open to partnering.  We have ongoing open calls for consultants or expertise for various activities under the GEO work programme and that will continue. In terms of a more systematic approach to engaging SMMEs, I think the work carried out by the team working on the GEO Industry Track, already in its third year, is important. As we sustain these efforts, we hope to see more SMMEs becoming aware of us as an engagement platform and a place to seed ideas that respond to known needs and demands. 

How can EARSC support GEO’s activities and missions?

As one of GEO’s key partners for the private sector, EARSC has already been a great supporter of the GEO Industry Track, through the EO Café engagements and by generally working on programmes, such as eShape. As we look to expand our PPP activities and work with SMMEs in Europe and elsewhere, EARSC can help us understand the issues  that matter most to your members and develop synergies with the rest of the GEO community. Through the Sentinel Benefits Studies, EARSC also has some great examples of the value of Earth observations that we can share with other regions of the world since we are all aiming for impact. 

​​GEO can also continue to work with EO Evangelists. For example we have been collaborating with Irene Benito from Planet in her lead role for raw materials. In this context,  we have been discussing possibilities to renew and strengthen our work on mineral resources  in the GEO Work Programme. It would be interesting to connect with the other EO Evangelists for other similar discussions.

What would you like to add? 

One important theme that occasionally receives an honorary mention but that deserves to be fully integrated into the culture and mission of any organization, including GEO, is inclusiveness. GEO has been working on increasing inclusiveness in terms of participation and representation. At GEO Week 2021, GEO adopted an Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Statement, which will drive our efforts to promote inclusiveness through all the vectors of our work. At the same time, we created a GEO Youth Community of Practice, and we invite all young professionals, EO enthusiasts, young and aspiring entrepreneurs to join this network and create energy and power from within.  We will also continue to support the underrepresented around the world, such as small island developing states and Indigenous communities, through ethical and inclusive means of engagement. 

Thank you very much Yana for such a fruitful and interesting discussion! We are looking forward to more collaborations between GEO and EARSC!

(G)EOHACK19, Canberra, Australia

Tell us a bit more about your company

Marine coastlines, coral reefs, lakes or river catchments … - shallow waters are what we focus on. Since 2006, we have been mapping and monitoring aquatic environments for customers all over the world. Among these, we count renowned hydrographic offices, environmental agencies as well as industry partners. Our mission is to harness the terrabytes of satellite data recorded every day, offering our clients a quick, but panoptic view on shallow waters of their interest. This helps them deeply understand, manage and finally even mitigate impacts or changes. EOMAP is an Earth Observation expert for Satellite-Derived Bathymetry (SDB), Seafloor Classification and Water Quality Monitoring. In addition to high-tech data analytics, we provide IT-solutions, above all web-based software services. Last, but not least, we cooperate in manifold R & D projects, tackling artificial intelligence, green energy or drinking water. All in all, we strive to address both water related UN Sustainability Goals, SDG 6 and SDG 14.

High-resolution Satellite-Derived Bathymetry (Australia) - © EOMAP

What makes your services and products unique?

Basically, we combine three efforts to help understanding, managing and protecting shallow waters:

  • Reduce environmental risks: Uncertainties in Earth observation can arise from various factors. The algorithms within our processing chain include mechanisms for quantifying these and flagging relative reliabilities. For the sake of accuracy, we base our work on standardised, physics-based and validated analytics. As technology leader, we were the first and sole company whose Satellite-Derived Bathymetry (SDB) was included in the British Admiralty charts. In another project we provided SDB for the world-first 3D habitat map of the entire Great Barrier Reef, comprising over 3,000 coral reefs.
  • Face economic needs: Our customers wish to avoid risky, time or money consuming processes. They benefit from our long-term experience and 100+ projects per annum, involving water bodies around the globe. One of these was to monitor nearshore dredging activities in the Baltic Sea for Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline. The coastal waters of Narva Bay are part of the Kurgalsky nature reserve, calling for careful environmental impact assessments and ecological surveys. Using a multi-sensor approach, we monitored turbidity and related suspended matter concentrations including seasonal changes.
Software eoApp – Visualizing turbidity in the course of dredge
monitoring for a port authority – © EOMAP
  • Support knowledge increase: We invite our partners to dive deeper into the values of remote sensing. Therefore, we offer more than consultancy and capacity building. By online and software solutions which we integrate into
    their daily workflows, we empower clients to rapid and convenient data access. This can simplify their monitoring, reporting and planning. In this context, we have been providing high-res SDB data for the EMODNETconsortium
    and - since 2021, for The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 – aiming at a freely available map of the world oceans‘ seafloor. As for the above mentioned monitoring project in Narva Bay, we offered a constant overview of water quality via our online platform eoApp.

What are your future plans for the company and your products?

We will certainly continue to turn satellite data into value – for our customers and the planet. In a nutshell: Evolving dashboards and more smart software solutions will keep us busy. At the HYDRO ’22 for example, we will launch the HYPOS suite, a toolbox for the hydropower industry, developed by a European consortium, supported by Horizon2020. Combining modelling with satellite data it offers direct access to key hydrological and water quality parameters and – finally – efficient sediment management. We are diving even deeper into the integration of multi-source data on aquatic environments, involving drones or unmanned maritime systems. And we are delving into topics highly relevant for the sustainable use of water, such as drinking water supply, plastic waste monitoring or blue energy.

Sounds exciting! Can we join you?

Sure. We’ve been growing constantly, and applications of broad-minded professionals are welcome. Above all, we appreciate people who can bridge the gap from environmental research to industry applications. EOMAP’s team unites physicists, software engineers, hydro-geologists as well as GIS and remote sensing specialists – of ten nationalities! Our HQ being in Castle Seefeld near Munich (Germany), we operate sales offices in Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and the USA.

How can we contact you?

Please keep track with all our activities on LinkedIn, send an Email to or arrange for a meeting via our web-tool on

EOMAP's Management: Dr. Knut Hartmann (COO), Karin Schenk (Water Quality Project Manager), Dr. Eva Maria Haas (Head of Strategic Accounts), Dr. Thomas Heege (CEO, Founder)