Jul 2020 | No Comment

Virtual edition of ESA Space App Camp 2020

For the first time, the ESA Space App Camp is offering a virtual workspace to 20 dedicated developers: a comprehensive preparation phase and an 11-day online Space App Camp, supported by Earth Observation, Artificial Intelligence and business experts. The winners will be rewarded with cash prizes, a unique Earth Observation support package to facilitate the continuation of the work on their winning App idea, exclusive work opportunities and insights at ESA.

The aim of the ESA Space App Camp is to make Earth Observation data and services accessible to a wide range of citizens. The camp participants get introduced to Copernicus and learn about the many ways in which big data from space can enrich mobile apps using a dedicated API for EO data. Those who attend will be tasked with devising innovative apps and feasible business models in one of five subject areas: Smart Green Cities; Food Security; Health; Tourism and Coastal monitoring. This year, an additional topic on Agriculture in honour of former ESA employee Luigi Fusco can also be addressed.

ESA invites 20 developers, artificial intelligence and machine learning specialists from across Europe to exchange new ideas with fellow developers and tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges from 11-21 September 2020.

Remote sensing and remote data control technology by 3D at Depth

3D at Depth Inc., survey support services, and 3D data solutions recently launched a remote sensing and remoted data control solution to help operators provide a safe, more efficient environment to their operations while increasing their near real-time 3D data intelligence. The remote sensing and remote data control technology is built around expanded capabilities originally embedded in 3D at Depth’s proven subsea LiDAR technology when the company first commercialized in 2014. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent downturn in the industry, and the race to advance autonomy into offshore oil and gas operations, 3D at Depth quickly phased in the technology as part of their current standard services.

3D at Depth developed software simulators that can be installed on the vessel prior to the start of any project to simulate a remote scan or metrology. An additional feature provides flexibility for those vessels with low bandwidth communications to shore.

RS algorithm for landslide monitoring

Chinese researchers have designed an improved remote sensing method for more efficient landslide monitoring.

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) remote sensing is a potential technique for longterm monitoring of landslide-prone areas. Traditional pixel offset tracking methods work well for fast-moving landslides but still have some limitations.

The researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences proposed the improved offset tracking method to optimize a more efficient workflow, as well as an improved algorithm based on homogeneous samples.

The researchers applied the proposed method to study the evolution of the landslide that happened in 2018 in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, using SAR data from the Gaofen-3 satellite and the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2).

In the study, the researchers demonstrated that the SAR remote sensing plays an important role in global landslide monitoring, especially when ground live data are insufficient.

Stand-alone photogrammetry cloud processing solutions by Pix4D

Pix4D has released Pix4Dcloud and Pix4Dcloud Advanced: the new mapping platforms for online surveying workflows and construction site monitoring. These stand-alone cloud products run Pix4D’s photogrammetry algorithms for mapping and modeling reality from images.

Pix4Dcloud Advanced extends the functionalities of Pix4Dcloud to address the needs of construction customers with timeline-based monitoring and improved accuracy. Both products now replace the previous Pix4D Cloud platforms.

Private sector participation in space activities will be allowed in India

India has approved far reaching reforms in the Space sector aimed at boosting private sector participation in the entire range of space activities. It was approved by Union Cabinet of the country chaired by the Prime Minister.

India is among a handful of countries with advanced capabilities in the space sector. With these reforms, the sector will receive new energy and dynamism, to help the country leapfrog to the next stages of space activities. This will not only result in an accelerated growth of this sector but will enable Indian Industry to be an important player in global space economy. With this, there is an opportunity for large-scale employment in the technology sector and India becoming a Global technology powerhouse.

Space sector can play a major catalytic role in the technological advancement and expansion of our Industrial base. The proposed reforms will enhance the socio-economic use of space assets and activities, including through improved access to space assets, data and facilities.

The newly created Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) will provide a level playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure. It will also handhold, promote and guide the private industries in space activities through encouraging policies and a friendly regulatory environment. The Public Sector Enterprise ‘New Space India Limited (NSIL)’ will endeavor to re-orient space activities from a ‘supply driven’ model to a ‘demand driven’ model, thereby ensuring optimum utilization of our space assets.

These reforms will allow ISRO to focus more on research and development activities, new technologies, exploration missions and human spaceflight programme. Some of the planetary exploration missions will also be opened up to private sector through an ‘announcement of opportunity’ mechanism.

NGA Signs R&D Agreement with Capella Space

Capella Space has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency (NGA). The CRADA gives Capella access to NGA researchers for deeper insight into problems and in return NGA gains access to Capella Space’s SAR data and analytics services and signifies NGA’s first research partnership with an American commercial small satellite SAR data company, in an effort to expand its research capabilities.

The CRADA with Capella Space is part of the NGA’s broader Commercial GEONIT Strategy, first released October 2015 and later updated in September 2018. The NGA Commercial GEOINT Strategy provides a vision and plan for continually increasing collaboration with commercial GEOINT companies in order to meet rising customer demands for more timely and persistent imagery, analytics, and contextual information.

Global air pollution maps now available to the public

A new online platform that allows for the tracking of air pollution worldwide is now available to the public. The maps, which use data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, show the averaged nitrogen dioxide concentrations using a 14-day moving average. The maps not only show changes over time on a global scale, but also provide the possibility for users to zoom in to areas of interest, for example any city or region over Europe.

The averaged maps also reflect the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown – with drastic reductions of nitrogen dioxide concentrations visible over many areas. These effects can now be easily explored across the globe.

With air quality a serious concern, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite was launched in 2017 to map a multitude of air pollutants around the globe. Copernicus Sentinel-5P carries the Tropomi instrument – a state-of-theart instrument that detects the unique fingerprint of atmospheric gases to image air pollutants more accurately and at a higher spatial resolution than ever before.

The S5P-PAL is also part of the new ‘Rapid Action on Coronavirus and Earth observation’ dashboard, also known as RACE. The platform provides access to key environmental, economic and social indicators to measure the impact of the coronavirus lockdown and monitor post-lockdown recovery.

Planet announces 50 cm SkySat imagery

Over the past year, Planet has seen increased demand for its SkySat imagery to fulfill customers’ needs for timely, accurate and frequent information across the decision cycle. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified this trend, as traditional surveying and inspection methods are not currently possible.

To meet the present moment, and demonstrate our commitment to rapidly deliver more value to customers every year, Planet is excited to unveil three new releases as part of our overall tasking offerings. Combined, these releases not only enhance the core imagery for analysis, but also reduce friction to acquire that data.

Higher resolution 50 cm imagery: In just six months, we successfully lowered our SkySat constellation to enhance the spatial resolution of our SkySat imagery from 80 cm to 50 cm for our ortho product.

Tasking Dashboard: At Planet we want to democratize access to our assets, and we hear from all our users a desire to have simpler and faster workflows. Planet’s imaging pipeline and delivery infrastructure have been built in the cloud and the Tasking Dashboard and API are the latest results of that foundation. The Tasking Dashboard is a new user interface that allows customers to request SkySat collections, while our new API provides efficient, automated access.

Rapid revisit, with up to 12x revisit capabilities: While Planet leads the market with guaranteed sub-daily revisit, the upcoming launch of six new SkySats will allow Planet to image certain locations up to 12 times per day, at a global average of 7 times per day. This unprecedented capability will provide more rapid response to global events and enable imaging at times of the day previously unseen by satellites

Germany launches decentralized contact tracing app

Germany has developed a contact tracing app “Corona-Warn-App” that warns you if you’ve been in contact with someone who may have been infected with the coronavirus. The app serves as a digital complement to distancing, hygiene and wearing masks. It uses Bluetooth technology and the Apple/Google Exposure Notification APIs,” says the Android app page, which has 18,000 reviews already, averaging at 4.6/5.

The reason Germany opted to go for the decentralized approach supported by the Google/Apple API was that its citizens aren’t too keen on being spied on by their government. Despite all this there still seems to be some hesitance about downloading the app in Germany, according to Reuters, but maybe there will be a snowball effect once a few intrepid punters give it a go. Either way the German government has given its contact-tracing app the best possible chance of success.

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