The first satellite-based service for extensive and uninterrupted monitoring and mapping of land stability has won the top prize in the European Earth-monitoring competition.
In its fourth year, the Copernicus Masters competition seeks innovative solutions for business and society based on Earth observation data, while fostering creative product development and entrepreneurship in Europe. This year, the competition received more than 170 entries from 43 countries.
The 2014 winners were announced yesterday evening at an event in Berlin, Germany.
Volker Liebig, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes, presented the Copernicus Masters prize to Andrew Sowter and Paul Bhatia from the University of Nottingham for their Punnet project.
The service aims to map and monitor land stability with millimetre-precision, facilitating large-scale coverage of land deformation from mining, groundwater extraction, drilling and other causes.
Punnet will be a new tool for users in the oil and gas industry, exploration companies, construction industry, public authorities and environmental protection organisations.
“Punnet’s innovative approach perfectly leverages the unique potential of the extensive Sentinel-1 data and the high-resolution data provided by the TerraSAR-X and PAZ satellites,” said Alexander Kaptein, Head of Future Programmes at Airbus Defence and Space.
Sentinel-1A – the first satellite for Europe’s Copernicus programme – provides radar data that were made publicly available earlier this month as its operational phase began.
“The Copernicus Masters is an outstanding platform for promoting user uptake and raising awareness of the benefits of the Copernicus data and information,” said Prof Liebig.
“I am pleased about the high quality exhibited by this year’s ideas, which reflect the potential of Earth observation data and global environmental information present in countless new areas of application.”
Winners in nine categories were awarded prizes totalling €300 000 in the form of cash prizes, consulting services, data packages and business incubation. All winners also got the opportunity to turn their ideas into market-ready offerings with the support of one of the 11 ESA Business Incubation Centres across Europe.
“These new services are already demonstrating the significant value that can be attained in combining Earth observation data with other dynamic statistical information from everyday life,” explained Thorsten Rudolph, Managing Director of the competition’s organiser, Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen.
“Through our cooperation with ESA and its incubator programme, we offer an ideal platform for providing sustainable technical and financial support to new service models in Earth observation.”
The Copernicus Masters awards ceremony was accompanied by the Satellite Masters Conference for the first time, which gave the winners the chance to present their ideas to the global Earth observation and navigation industry and share innovations in aerospace technologies and services.
This year’s prizes were sponsored by ESA, the DLR German Aerospace Center, T-Systems International GmbH, European Space Imaging GmbH & Skybox Imaging Inc., CloudEO AG, Airbus Defence and Space & Hisdesat S.A. and Satellite Applications Catapult Ltd. The Copernicus Masters also receives support from the European Commission.