French company Murmuration has been awarded a coveted ESA Rising Stars award for its environmental monitoring service, which uses space technology to mitigate the growing environmental footprint of global tourism. Devised under ESA’s Business Applications and Space Solutions (BASS) programme, the pioneering service harnesses satellite data to generate key indicators designed to inform sustainable travel and development.
With localised environmental assessments usually occurring yearly, decision makers in the tourism industry lack sufficiently accurate and up-to-date data, hampering the sector’s advance towards sustainability. Murmuration brings significant advances to the field, using Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO) data to provide near-real time information about environmental factors across touristic zones, paving the way towards significant efficiency gains and improved regulation of tourism flow.
Murmuration integrates SatEO data with other sources, such as Open Street Maps and Eurostat information detailing tourism statistics in specific areas. The system processes this data, converting it into environmental indicators, which are accessible to users via an intelligent platform dashboard. The key indicators (air, water, land, biodiversity, and human activities) provide decision makers with vital information about a wide range of aspects from air quality and vegetation health to tourist flow.
This comprehensive solution will provide precise, up-to-date data on travel destinations across the globe, which will not only help to promote environmental responsibility but also boost sustainable economic activity within the tourism sector by locating the most sustainable areas for investment and development. Use cases could include monitoring the impact of tourism on air quality, assessing urbanisation and infrastructure, and evaluating sustainable tourism and environmental capacity.
Throughout the development and pilot phase, Murmuration worked closely with Segittur, which promotes innovation in the Spanish tourism sector, CRTL AURA (the Tourism Committee of the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region) and the Malta Tourism Authority. These successful collaborations have already led to contracts with CRTL and the Malta Tourism Authority, among several others.
ESA’s Rising Stars awards recognise the most promising European space start-ups in ESA’s ecosystem and Murmuration’s accolade is testament to the strength and impact of the company’s offering. As Murmuration continues to develop its product and its commercial reach, with 7 key users already adopting the service and a turnover of €750K in 2022, more contracts and market developments are in the pipeline. While solidifying its presence in the primary tourism market, the French company is also evolving its service to meet the needs of related sectors, with plans to apply it to monitoring the environmental impact of sports and other major events. The real-estate sector has also been identified as a key target area. This commercial promise is matched by major environmental benefits, as Murmuration informs and influences tourism actors to make smarter, more sustainable choices, which in turn will lead to improved quality of life for citizens and travellers across the world.
Guillaume Prigent, ESA’s Technical Officer who has worked closely with Murmuration on the project, says “This venture shows how combining space technology with a great business idea can lead to significant commercial and sustainability returns. We are delighted to see Murmuration receiving an ESA Rising Stars award and look forward to seeing the service grow and expand into new markets.”
Tarek Habib, Murmuration’s co-founder and Chairman says “Murmuration seamlessly intertwines space technology and tourism, with ESA’s support emerging as a crucial linchpin from scientific, technical and commercial perspectives. Our team is deeply honoured to be conferred with the ESA Rising Stars award, as it not only fuels our motivation but significantly enhances the credibility of our services.”
Hugo Gonzalez, manager of the BASS programme at CNES (Centre National D'Etudes Spatiales) says “Murmuration is an excellent example of how space data can bring benefits for all kinds of terrestrial activities. We are proud that Murmuration has received the ESA Rising Stars award, showing the high potential of the French ecosystem to link science, technical and business skills for the benefit of all.”