Objectives of the service
The activity 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 ECOPlayer is based on the latest visualisation solutions: virtual, augmented and mixed reality (VR, AR, MR) and artificial intelligence. The application enables the search and recognition, using integrated satellite positioning and AR technology, of plants, insects and possibly larger animals and their traces. This can be linked to team or individual outdoor games, competitions that can be conducted remotely (in different locations nationally and internationally).
The ECOPlayer activity is aimed mainly at scout troops and various types of children and youth groups, can be also used by primary schools, secondary schools, kindergartens, children's universities. An additional audience can be private companies and training institutions interested in promoting didactic knowledge, innovation and good educational practice.
The kick-start activity involves 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 is making 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 enables every student and scout to work outdoors at full value and deepen their knowledge related to the surrounding environment. It is also a safe alternative to face-to-face group activities.
Service/ system concept
The primary scope of this activity 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 is 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 is an innovative, multisensory interface, which will be based on the synergy of different technologies so that the user will innovatively absorb new educational content.
System uses 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 is an intermediate hybrid solution between a thin and thick client. The client-side is 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, can 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 is 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 can 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 can be used to prepare a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and Digital Surface Model (DSM). The models can be overlaid with optical imagery from the Sentinel 2 mission.
The Kick Start activity has been completed. Key conclusions from the implementation can be found below:
From the questionnaires and the results of the face-to-face interviews, it seems that the primary target group of the ECOPlayer system users should be people connected with scouting, and the project team can see the potential here to continue the tasks.
The initial ECOPlayer requirements were developed on the basis of consultations and a survey. This allowed the assumptions to be verified and new ideas for the functionality of the final product to be obtained.
The functionality of the ECOPlayer system was initially defined in a general way without dividing it into e.g. a part available in a possible free and paid version of the software or assigning particular aspects to possible system modules.
Based on the consultation and survey potential functionalities were selected for review in the demonstarion part of the project.
A group of potential users who have expressed their willingness to further cooperate in the continuation of the ECOPlayer project has been identified and the team is looking into ways to how they will proceed further with them.