G-STEP with EURISY Conference: Growth and competitiveness using satellite applications- practical approaches for non-space SMEs
Warsaw, 23 November 2011
SMEs - operating in sectors as varied as transport, retail, construction, agriculture, manufacturing, or consulting - represent the vast majority of European businesses and provide two thirds of Europe’s jobs. They have a crucial role to play in the European economy and the achievement of the Europe 2020 objectives, particularly in times of financial and economic crisis.
Cutting-edge satellite applications can help SMEs working in these sectors deliver better quality or new products and services to tap into new markets, streamline work flows, thus significantly increasing profit margins.
This conference will inform user-SMEs about the uses of satellite applications in sectors other than space,disseminate success stories shared by user-SMEs who have implemented satellite applications effectively present support and funding opportunities for user-SMEs provide feedback to decision- and policy-makers on the support user-SMEs need to take up satellite applications
Global to Local: Space Innovations in Mapping Event Success
‘Global to Local: Space Innovations in Mapping’ successfully took place at the National Space Centre in Leicester on Tuesday 1st November 2011. We were very pleased to exceed our expected number of delegates, which resulted in a broad network and some excellent opportunities for engaging discussion.
An exciting programme of speakers provided an opportunity for delegates to discover innovative applications of data and mapping techniques.
Presentations from the day are available to download below:
Session One - Innovations
Innovative Geological Mapping and Modelling Using Earth Observation and Immersive Visualisation - Professor Stuart Marsh, Head of Geoscience Technologies, British Geological Survey
Earth Observation in the Age of “Big Data” - Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist, Google
Keynote Presentation - Dr David Williams, Chief Executive, UK Space Agency
Session Two: Funding and Support for Service Development
The afternoon provided delegates with an opportunity to participate in practical workshops engaging with the ideas presented in the earlier sessions.
Applications of GNSS - Trevor Wright, University of Nottingham
Applications of GIS - Dr Kavitha Muthu and Roman Roth, G-STEP
Winners of the GMES Masters Competition Announced
The winner of the Ideas Challenge and the overall winner of the GMES Masters competition is Geodan’s DeforestAction EarthWatchers application. The idea is about empowering world citizens in rainforest monitoring by integrating Earth observation, social media, human computation, and collaborative intelligence. It involves millions of volunteers in analysing near real-time satellite imagery to help halt illegal deforestation. The project can build upon GMES monitoring services and imagery from Sentinel 1 and 2 missions. Large areas can be monitored using crowdsourcing (allocating a small area to each group) on a specially designed webGIS, and the system linked to social media to enable cooperation and collaborative intelligence.
The winner of the ESA App Challenge is Aquamap from EOMAP. This idea aimed to provide near real-time, high resolution water quality products to both private users (scuba divers, seaside tourists etc.) via mobile phones and professional offshore companies. Very fast user and service friendly access to the products will be facilitated by the use of cloud computing solutions directly on top of GMES ground segments and satellite data archives.
The winner of the DLR Environmental challenge is EOPAD from Serco. This idea involves using Earth observation data from GMES to monitor the environmental impacts of cooling water discharges from thermal power plants under the increasing effects of climate change.
The winner of the T-Systems Cloud Computing Challenge is the Earth Video Camera from UrtheCast. The Earth Video Camera will provide the world’s first continuous, high definition streaming video of planet Earth from space. Two cameras mounted on the ISS will send images and video to ground stations on Earth, which will process and stream them to users on the Internet, television channels, and smartphones. The user experience on the UrtheCast platform will generate significant awareness, publicity and interest. UrtheCast plans to utilise existing imagery of Earth both to build the web platform and leverage the infrastructure, relationships, and resources of GMES.
The winner of the best service challenge is the SRRS - Satellite Rapid Response System from CHELYS. In emergency situations it is necessary to respond as quickly as possible. SRRS performs real-time processing of satellite data from ESA and NASA missions, making these data available only 2 minutes after acquisition. SRRS’ strength is instant availability: raw data are processed without waiting for them to become higher level products, meaning no reliance on processing times in reception centres, and instant access to images and data for users and researchers on any type of client (mobiles, PCs, tablets, etc.).
UK Teams Developing New Ways of Monitoring Earth’s Climate from Space
The Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI), with funding from the UK Space Agency, has awarded contracts worth more than £500,000 to develop new satellite technologies for observing the Earth from space. There will be 8 industrial and academic teams working around the UK; the two largest projects will develop technologies for measuring the make up of the Earth’s atmosphere, providing data for use by climatologists and for the next generation of weather forecasting satellites. Six smaller projects will develop instrumentation ideas for future space missions.
To read more about these exciting projects and the project teams involved view the full article from the UK Space Agency
University of Leicester’s Earth Observation Science Group Demonstrates Air Quality Monitoring Capability to CNN
The University of Leicester’s Earth Observation Science Group demonstrated current and future techniques in the use of satellite data to monitor air pollution on the first episode of the CNN series Road to Durban: A Green City Journey. Each month, the 30-minute show explores the cities making strides in reducing their carbon footprint, ahead of the 17th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which takes place in Durban, South Africa in December.
Professor Paul Monks, from the Department of Chemistry, showed the kind of air quality information which can be gained from existing satellites such as Envisat. Dr Roland Leigh, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, demonstrated how scientists from the University of Leicester are building the next generation of air quality satellites - smaller and more sensitive they will provide an additional dimension to data collected by Envisat and will be able to measure down to the city scale producing 3D maps like the image of Leicester included here. (Click the thumbnail image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the University of Leicester and Infoterra.
‘GMES Masters’ - Commercial Service Competition
The 1st of July marked the official start of a new innovation competition - the GMES Masters. The European Earth Monitoring Competition calls for new ideas and services making the best use of earth observation data from Europe’s flagship programme on global monitoring for environment and security (GMES).
The competion encourages students, researchers, entrepreneurs, start-up companies and SMEs to develop market-focused applications from data gathered through the EU-led GMES initiative. There are five challenge areas, each with individual prizes available:
• Ideas Challenge
• Best Service Challenge
• ESA App Challenge
• DLR Environmental Challenge
• T-Systems Cloud Computing Challenge
The overall winner of the competition - the GMES Master - will receive an additional cash prize of EUR 20,000 and will be selected from the the winners of the 5 challenges.
The competition is open until the 15 September 2011 and you are invited to submit your applications and business ideas for one of the five “challenges” via a secure online database at www.gmes-masters.com.
This is the first year of a competition that will reward on an annual basis the best projects and business ideas for a GMES commercial service, with the aim to support the development of GMES related entrepreneurship in Europe.
G-STEP and NVision Joint Event Success
‘From Space to Earth - The Built Environment in 3D’ successfully took place at the NVision 3D Modelling and Technology Centre at the University of Northampton on Thursday 16th June 2011.
This event used the spectacular visualisation facilities at NVision to demonstrate earth observation applications for the built environment sector.
The afternoon provided delegates with an opportunity to participate in practical workshops engaging with the data and software for mapping and visualising the built environment.
On display throughout the day was the spectacular immersive 3D cube and demonstration data from Astrium Geo-Information Services.
The event was well received and successful in bringing specialists in the fields of earth observation, geo-information and 3D visualisation together with end-users within industry.
‘One Giant Leap For SMEs’ - G-STEP Celebrates Two Years of Successful Collaboration
G-STEP (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security – Space Technology Exchange Partnership) was set up in 2009 to ensure that the benefits of University of Leicester’s world-class Space Research, specifically Earth Observation, could be brought to practical use by small companies in the East Midlands.
Considered an ambitious and innovative project, G-STEP has signalled its success by working with 20 companies in the past six months alone.
Rhys Cowsill, Business Manager said: “We have been working with a number of enterprises to improve their performance and profitability. The diversity of applications could not have been imagined when the programme began, but by allowing the user community to ‘pull’ rather than getting the scientists to ‘push,’ the range of uses for this new and exciting asset has been surprisingly wide.”
From collaborating with local SME Rock Kitchen Harris on the Police Crime Database, to assessing the likelihood of buildings’ subsidence for insurance purposes, to assisting in the monitoring of forestry, and identifying the best roofs for solar panels, the potential for collaboration is open-ended.
Paul Monks, Director of G-STEP, added: “The sphere of precision agriculture is another area ripe for exploration and is a future aspiration for the G-STEP staff beyond the current funding stream. They are also looking to help city councils monitor their trees and open spaces and to take forward the work already in train on intelligent traffic control and air quality monitoring for the City of Leicester. There is even a niche market in assisting SMEs to make more of their own customer databases using Geospatial Information Systems software.”
G-STEP has also set its sights on working with enterprises beyond the East Midlands. If you would like more information on the services G-STEP has to offer, including expert advice and practical help in designing bespoke solutions to your company’s problems, contact us.
Launch of the ISIC Visualisation Centre
The International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) officially launched its Visualisation Centre on Friday the 6th May.
The ISIC Visualisation Centre is a unique and high profile facility that will deliver interactive visualisations of Earth Observation, space science and other data. It is an integral part of the vision for end-to-end Earth Observation capabilities located at ISIC, tightly linked to the EO Hub and associated ground segment.
G-STEP acted as scientific co-ordinator for two outreach movies that will be displayed at the ISIC visualisation centre. These movies illustrate the role of Earth Observation for scientific, environmental, economic and societal benefit and the UK’s strengths in the commercialisation of such technologies.
Click the thumbnail image to enlarge the sequence of satellite images illustrating deforestation in the Mato Grosso region of Brazil.
G-STEP Welcomes New Business Manager
G-STEP is pleased to announce that Rhys Cowsill has joined the team as Business Manager this week.
This is a return to Leicester for Rhys who first came to the city in 1976 to start his teacher training at Scraptoft College, then part of Leicester Polytechnic. Rhys taught PE and maths in the county for 5 years as well as working on the Youth Opportunities initiative with Leicester City Council for 12 months.
In 1986, Rhys joined the RAF as a Physical Education Officer and soon afterwards, became a Parachute Jumping Instructor. He has worked with the Army and Special Forces as well as carrying out parachuting trials and training throughout the past 24 years.
From 2003 to 2006, Rhys worked at the RAF Leadership Centre where he completed an MBA, specialising in leadership; this was followed with an MSc in Leadership and Management at Portsmouth Business School.
G-STEP has joined DORIS_Net as project partner
DORIS_net (Downstream Observatory organised by Regions active In Space – Network) is a two-year FP7 project launched on 1 February 2010. The Downstream Observatory will facilitate links between both regional and European level GMES stakeholders. It is organised by regions that are members of NEREUS (Network of European Regions Using Space Technologies) with the aim of fostering downstream activities and links with regions.
G-STEP will be the main contact point for DORIS_net in East Midlands and will share its best practices in raising awareness and GMES training with other regions of the network as well as in the UK and Ireland.
Monitoring Cyclone Yasi
Earth Observation scientists at the University of Leicester are monitoring the progress of tropical Cyclone Yasi over Australia.
Data from the Japanese Meteorological Agency’s satellite - MTSAT-2 - and ESA’s Envisat satellite has been processed at the university to produce some spectacular images of this storm system, which is larger than the UK.
Professor John Remedios, Head of Earth Observation Science at the University of Leicester and G-STEP co director, said, “The strength of the storm and the clarity of the eye are quite remarkable. Satellite systems allow us to monitor and improve the forecast for the areas at risk. They also really show us the immense energy of natural systems which still have a profound effect on our daily lives. In Australia, it really has been a most difficult few months with the combination of a number of intense weather events.”
The image here shows the cyclone at 2pm on February the 2nd, as captured by MTSAT-2. A movie clip of MTSAT-2 data is available on YouTube, showing the storm approaching Queensland, Australia.
Click the thumbnail image to enlarge.
December Event Success
G-STEP’s first workshop in the Earth Observation for Business series on the 1st December was a great success, with some brilliant creative ideas generated on the use of Earth Observation images. Well done to the winning team of the EO quiz it was nice to see such competitive spirit despite the early start!
December has been a busy networking month so it’s likely you will have seen G-STEP at events like the Transport iNet Innovation Event pictured. We will be keeping up our local event presence into the New Year so if you do see us, come and talk to us about your business and discover what EO technology can do for you.
The second workshop in the Earth Observation for Business series is due to take place on the 1st February 2011, further details and an opportunity to register online will be available on the events section of this website in early January.
G-STEP to Provide Satellite Images for Sky News
G-STEP and researchers from the Earth Observation Science group at the University of Leicester are working with world leading energy and climate change consultancy AEA to provide earth observation satellite imagery of current events around the world for international news broadcaster Sky News.
Recent contributions include these images of the floods in Pakistan – the top image was captured on the 18th July 2010 prior to the flooding, the bottom image was captured on the 10th August 2010 during the flood event. Other contributions include imagery of the Moscow Fires and the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano in Iceland.
Click the thumbnail image to enlarge.
Monitoring the Moscow Fires
G-STEP and researchers from the Earth Observation Science group at the University of Leicester have released satellite images of the plumes of smoke from the peat bog fires that are sweeping across central and western Russia and currently enveloping Moscow.
The image above is an enhanced true colour image; the image below is a false colour image, which highlights the smoke from the wildfires as bright yellow. The images were captured by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) instrument on MetOp, and the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) on METEOSAT.
Click the thumbnail image to enlarge.
Monitoring the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Iceland
Researchers in the Earth Observation Science group at the University of Leicester are continuing to monitor the Eyjafjallajökull Volcanic ash plume using a suite of satellite instruments. Some of the latest imagery allows the spatial extent of the main ash plume (containing the largest ash particles) to be observed. The ash cloud can be tracked in near real time using data from the EUMETSAT system located at the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester.
Information gained from analysis of satellite data is essential in developing a system of assessing the potential damage to aircraft to ensure the safety of air travellers. For more information, images and an animation of the ash cloud’s progress visit the Earth Observation Science Group.
Click the thumbnail image to enlarge.