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INNOVA’s Earth Observation value added monitoring services

Made-in-Italy value added environmental and infrastructure monitoring services and infomobility solutions.

INNOVA Consorzio per l’Informatica e la Telematica srl is an Italian SME specialized as a service and technology provider for the Earth Observation, Remote Sensing, Logistics and Public Administration sectors.

Our mission is to provide innovative and qualitative operational services, with close attention to new market developments, state-of-the-art technological solutions and satisfying customer requirements. We count today with 18 highly qualified experts and two company divisions: Earth Observation and Infomobility. Each division is equipped with its own R&D lab.

Earth Observation Division

Our main activity lies in the Remote Sensing and Earth Observation sectors. INNOVA’s key remote sensing technologies are:

  • the elaboration of satellite images using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data for various environmental and structural monitoring applications;
  • the elaboration of Radio Occultation data used for satellite positioning using GPS technology and meteorology.

The company has had a major role in the COSMO-SkyMed (COnstellation of small Satellites for Mediterranean basin Observation) mission since its inception. It is the largest Italian investment in Space Systems for Earth Observation, commissioned and funded by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD), conceived as a Dual-Use (Civilian and Defence) end-to-end Earth Observation System aimed to establish a global service supplying provision of data, products and services compliant with well-established international standards and relevant to a wide range of applications, such as Risk Management, Scientific and Commercial Applications and Defence/ Intelligence Applications.

The system consists of a constellation of four Low Earth Orbit mid-sized satellites, each equipped with a multi-mode high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) operating in X-band. Within the programme, INNOVA has been involved in the analysis and prototyping of the focusing algorithms for the StripMap and Spotlight acquisition modes to generate Single Look Complex, Multilooked, Detected, Ground Projected and/or DEM Projected images.

With the know-how acquired in this initial activity, the company designed and developed the following processors present today in the User Ground Segment (UGS):

  • deformatting processor to generate Level 0 products from data acquired in all acquisition modes;
  • focusing of SAR raw data in the highest resolution SpotLight acquisition mode for the generation of Level 1A products;
  • processor for the generation of Level 1B products using data acquired in StripMap and Spotlight.

Highlight of said experience is without a doubt the design and development of the processor to focus very high resolution data acquired in Spotlight acquisition mode, of great interest for civil, but mostly, military defence applications.

INNOVA is currently involved in the validation and calibration activities for the commissioning phase of the constellation satellites and has collaborated with Telespazio S.p.A. during Phases A and B of the COSMO Second Generation.

INNOVA has also been actively involved in the ROSA (Radio Occultation for Sounding the Atmosphere), programme of the Italian Space Agency (ASI). One of ASI’s priorities is indeed Earth Observation and in particular understanding climate change and the water cycle.

ROSA has become the heart of a scientific mission that represents Italy’s contribution to better understand climate change. The Radio Occultation technique, with the advent of satellite constellations such as GPS and GLONASS, and the near future GALILEO, allows for a detailed global study of the Earth’s atmospheric parameters.

These characteristics render Radio Occultation an extremely useful technique for the following applications:

  • meteorology/climatology: having a good knowledge of the humidity, pressure and temperature profiles on a global scale will increase the accuracy of weather models and of Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP);
  • Space Weather (electrons density profile in the ionosphere): knowing the total electron content (TEC) in the ionosphere (from a height of approximately 80 km to 700 Km) is extremely interesting for forecasts and Space Weather modelling;
  • Solid Earth Physics: Precise Orbit Determination (POD) of a satellite is of great interest for Solid Earth Physics.

As a continuation of our scientific and industrial activities in ROSA, June 2012 sees the beginning of GIANTGMSPAZIO INNOVA Atmospheric New Toolkit, an ESA project co-financed under the GSTP programme, which has as main objective to add the capability of importing and handling atmospheric parameters derived from the Radio Occultation (RO) technique and from Ground-Based GPS measures, into a market proven commercial software for general purpose real scenario simulation, specifically AGI STKTM a software used to solve basic location and inter-visibility problems associated with land, sea, air and space scenarios.

Infomobility Division

Over the last few years the company has also focused on infomobility / fleet management systems that use GPS satellite navigation and of course, ESA’s future GALILEO. Regarding the infomobility sector, the company’s key technologies are based on satellite navigation to provide the following infomobility services:

  • monitoring of public and private transport, logistics and waste collection vehicles;
  • monitoring and integrated waste management of dangerous and non-dangerous waste materials;
  • mobility support for disabled citizens.

Significant investment has been made to develop an innovative state-of-the-art second generation web-based infomobility platform, TrackingSolution. We are today a service provider and monitor over 500 vehicles for clients in the Logistics, Transport and Waste Management sectors.

Tracking Solution can be applied to management and operational requirements of other sectors. The platform is already available for the following fields:

  • Integrated Management of the Waste Collection Cycle (Control PTO, emptying of the rubbish skips, compacting cycles, dumps, brush wheel control, integration with RFID technology for automatic recognition of rubbish skips with transponders, Android/iPhone operator software);
  • Public Transport (Dial-A-Ride transport management, integration with intelligent poles).

Success Stories

DIAN S.r.l. – a start-up is born

A definite success story, especially considering the economic crises that has been affecting Europe for the last few years, is the founding of our start-up, DIAN S.r.l. (Differential Interferometric Analysis).

DIAN operates in the advanced tertiary sector as a provider of remote sensing and non-destructive infrastructure monitoring engineering services and is the natural progression of entrepreneurial know-how and over 15 years of scientific research in the remote sensing and non-destructive monitoring fields.

The services offered by DIAN are based on the Synthetic Aperture Radar technology with data acquired by satellite and ground based radar sensors:

  • environmental monitoring services, such as landslides, landslips and land subsistence, providing measurements of the morphological changes of the land both on a large scale using satellite data and on small-scale using ground-based radar;
  • static and dynamic monitoring as well as non-destructive monitoring of infrastructures such as: bridges, viaducts, buildings, churches and any other infrastructure of particular artistic value, industrial infrastructures and wind farms;
  • infrastructure stability monitoring services of railway lines, motorways, oil pipelines, gas pipelines.

DIAN offers an innovative solution and the greatest challenge is showing how our services compare with standard techniques used in the market today. Key strengths are:

  • Speed: few minutes to measure vibrations of the whole structure
  • Accuracy: sub-millimetre precision and accuracy of interferometric measurements
  • Interactivity: results available directly in the field
  • Cost-effectiveness: a single measurement can avoid installing many accelerometers
  • Non-destructive: marker-less for structures difficult to access
  • Dense: tenths of monitored points per square meter
  • In-depth: 2D displacement maps for post-measurement numerical analysis|
Figure 1- GBSAR monitoring of slope displacements

Figure 2- DAM Displacement Map

Figure 3- Displacement Map

The first year has taken us all over Italy where we have carried out numerous test campaigns. Highlights are:

  • Vibration measurement of a bell tower;
  • Measurement of dam displacements;
  • Measurement of slope displacements;
  • Static and dynamic bridge acceptance test;
  • Terrain displacement measurement of landslide area.

Integrated Waste Collection Platform

Waste collection in Italy is going through exciting changes as Municipalities must fulfill waste collection and recycling legislation. INNOVA’s innovative solution for the Integrated Management of the Waste Collection Cycle is proving to be a successful answer to new market requirements.

Our state-of-the-art solution combines web-based, GPS and RFID technology and has been designed to help municipalities and waste collection operators monitor and manage the complete waste collection cycle.

The platform manages:

  • the waste collection vehicle fleet,
  • the waste collection containers,
  • ground crew personnel.

and monitors:

  • PTO control,
  • waste collection containers,
  • compaction cycles,
  • waste unloading,
  • road cleaning brush activation control,
  • automatic recognition of containers with transponders,
  • operator software for Android / iPhone.
Figure 4- RFID & GPS Monitoring of Waste Collection Skips
Figure 5- Ground Crew Smartphone Application

In this context, the technology platform proposed by INNOVA gives all users (municipalities, operators and residents) the possibility of knowing the type of material that is recycled and the given quantity. This information is useful for municipalities to define a reward system that incentivizes recycling, offering greater savings to more environmentally friendly users.