Space at your Service - ESA's ARTES Applications workshop in Harwell

 (please click on the images to enlarge)

Users, satellite operators and government agencies gathered in Harwell, UK on 19th and 20th April 2012 to showcase some of the latest projects from ESA's Integrated Applications programme.

The Harwell workshop was attended by more than 160 attendees and featured projects supported through ESA's Integrated Applications and SatCom Applications programmes.  The workshop presentations were divided into several categories including health, transportation, consumer, capacity building, security and civil protection, agriculture, environment and energy.

Some of the highlighted projects included services such as a satellite system for video on demand, secure banking for remote locations in Africa, interactive cinema, ship identification for harbour custom authorities, and response to natural disasters.

Workshop participants were able to see the progress of 20 projects on display in special demonstration corners.  Participants were encouraged to ask questions and take part in the demos which gave them an opportunity to see how space can help in daily life.

Key speakers included Mr.  Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board.  Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and  Skills (BIS) and based in the UK, the Technology Strategy Board focuses on business innovation and the application of technology.  In his address Mr. Gray stressed that applications and services using space data will be one of the most important elements for delivering  growth.

Amnon Ginati, Head of the Integrated and Telecommunications related Applications at ESA, explains, IAP projects share one thing: they start from the users.  Everything we do must respond to a clear market need which is why ESA always co-funds these projects with our partners, who see a business opportunity and are willing to share the risk with us. Ultimately, the companies ESA works with must be able to run a sustainable business, and this must happen quickly.

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Before we start with a new idea, we verify there is a market potential. Then we move from the phase feasibility (it works !) to pre-operational services (it's worthwhile !).  Although not all projects make it to the finish line, we try to move the idea through the various steps proof of concept, demonstration project, and operational service in the shortest possible time.

For example, ESA is supporting the Dutch company eLeaf, which has designed a service that uses satellites to help farmers regulate the amount of water needed for irrigation. Information, including maps of fields and their humidity levels, and forecast rain are combined and then sent to the farmer's home computer.

Another example is using satellites to develop systems to monitor areas where insects carrying diseases e.g. ticks carrying Lyme disease are most likely to appear. Users  enter field observations, which are combined with Earth Observation data such as air temperature, moisture and weather patterns. The result is a prediction system that issues alerts and sends a map, showing the zones at risk, to individual users on their mobile phone.

  large variety of new players is emerging, explains Pierluigi Mancini, Head of Awareness Activities and Feasibility Studies at ESA. Many people associate satellites with something expensive and complicated, without realising how they can actually help them in their business. Thanks to this programme, user pull is materialising and is only going to increase.

For a complete list of projects showcased at the workshop, please see Presentations of Day1 (19.04.12) and Day 2 (20.04.12).

All photos by: ESA Harwell/STFC/Stephen Kill

07 May 2012
Last updated at 25 March 2014 - 16:06