Objectives of the service
The project involves the development and implementation of a mobile educational platform ECOPlayer designed to educate the society (mainly children and young people) and to improve awareness of the role of environmental elements in maintaining balance and natural order, as well as its protection. The project will be based on the latest visualisation solutions: virtual, augmented and mixed reality (VR, AR, MR) and artificial intelligence. The application will enable the search and recognition, using integrated satellite positioning and AR technology, of plants, insects and possibly larger animals and their traces. This will be linked to team or individual outdoor games, competitions that can be conducted remotely (in different locations nationally and internationally).
The ECOPlayer project is aimed mainly at primary schools, secondary schools, kindergartens, children's universities, scout troops and various types of children and youth groups. An additional audience will be private companies and training institutions interested in promoting didactic knowledge, innovation and good educational practice.
The kick-start activity is planned to involve school children and scouts. At a later stage, cooperation is planned with national partners implementing their tasks in the field of training and education of children and youth (primary and secondary schools, kindergartens, scout troops). Additionally, partners may include entrepreneurs offering educational products.
Users and their needs
As part of their compulsory education, school pupils need to learn about their environment and carry out tasks in this area. The ECOP app would make this possible by using modern technology, which young people are very keen to use. The activities of young scouts are largely based on field work related to the environment, which the ECOP platform is able to facilitate (especially in the era of the Covid-19 threat).
Both school children and scouts need to develop and keep up with technological advances. Remote teaching in the age of Covid-19 requires the use of the right tools to do so, most of which currently require sitting in front of a desk without the ability to work in the field. The ECOP system will enable every student and scout to work outdoors at full value and deepen their knowledge related to the surrounding environment. It will also be a safe alternative to face-to-face group activities.
Service/ system concept
The primary scope of the project is based on the use of synergy resulting from the integration of modern technical solutions aimed at creating an educational platform based on three methods of content presentation: Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and a combination of previous solutions in the form of Mixed Reality (MR). As part of the EcoPlayer platform, the proposed educational mobile application will be based on geolocation using GNSS systems combined with object recognition made by deep learning and artificial intelligence (figure 3). The main distinguishing factor of the designed product will be an innovative, multisensory interface, which will be based on the synergy of different technologies so that the user will innovatively absorb new educational content.
It is planned to create a native application for mobile devices (AR) and web front-end (MR/VR) as a part of the project (EcoPlayer clients). The selected mobile application architecture will be an intermediate hybrid solution between a thin and thick client. The client-side will be responsible for carrying out the functionalities responsible for map displaying, determining the location and sending to the server, navigating to the object, visualizing the 2D or 3D content based on the AR module, and displaying it on the mobile device screen. Other operations, including user authentication, authorization management, and communication, will be carried out on the server-side (the second, EcoPlayer server).
Space Added Value
The proposed product is based on two key programmes carried out by ESA: Earth Observation as part of the Sentinel mission and GNSS global positioning systems. The proposed solution envisages exploiting the synergy of the Sentinel project's products with the Galileo and EGNOS satellite navigation systems to provide integrated geo-information to the users.
Therefore, the main pillar of the platform will be the use of GNSS satellite positioning systems (mainly GPS and Galileo) and augmentation systems (EGNOS).
The products of the Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 missions will also be used to create 3D models showing environmental changes. Global spatial coverage and a rich archive allow reconstructing the history of changes occurring in selected areas. The radar images will be used to prepare a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and Digital Surface Model (DSM). The models will be overlaid with optical imagery from the Sentinel 2 mission.
Print screen of the school’s website with information about cooperation with ESA in the frame of ECOPlayer project.
As part of the launch of the EcoPlayer project, initial consultations were held with specialists in children's education (teachers, people involved in scouting). On this basis, questionnaires were prepared and distributed to pupils and teachers. In parallel, a questionnaire for scouts was prepared and distributed.
The collection of questionnaires among students, teachers working in schools and scouts has been completed. The results of surveys addressed to people connected with scouting were also collected. The information obtained is currently being analysed.