Green City Watch won this year’s Copernicus Masters competition in a ceremony held yesterday at the European Space Week in Helsinki, Finland. Using Copernicus Sentinel satellite data, this application combines big data from space with artificial intelligence to measure the quality of green urban spaces.
The vast amounts of data produced by the Copernicus programme hold great potential for companies, entrepreneurs and start-ups. The Copernicus Masters competition awards outstanding products and applications using Earth observation data to tackle environmental challenges and global challenges – such as climate change.
This year’s overall winner aims to change the way nature and biodiversity is valued. Green City Watch can quantify the CO2 uptake of urban green spaces on a global scale, as well as identify and monitor ecological improvements to parks.
By combining high-resolution satellite data with machine learning and artificial intelligence, Green City Watch provides actionable insights into green spaces to managers of urban green space areas, including real estate developers and landscape architecture firms.
The application uses satellite data from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission for vegetation analytics, Sentinel-1 SAR imagery to assess urban flood risks, as well as SkySat and RapidEye to map illegal tree removal.
The overall prize was awarded by ESA’s Director General, Jan Wörner, who commented, “The Copernicus Masters has proven to be an excellent example for boosting economic growth and tackling global challenges for our planet.”
“I am proud that this innovation competition is always one step ahead in addressing the latest state-of-the-art topics, with this year’s winning solutions now focusing on AI and other disruptive Earth observation technologies of the future.”
The Copernicus Masters competition included several different challenges. This year, the ESA Copernicus 4.0 Challenge looked for solutions that reflected on the upcoming ‘golden era’ in Earth observation, demonstrating how new trends can work together with traditional Earth observation satellites.
The winning idea was ConstellR – Taking our Planet’s Temperature During Climate Change - a high-resolution monitoring service that aims to enable a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The winner took away a €10 000 prize, as well as the possibility to access €10 000 worth of data from the Copernicus Contributing Missions.
Other challenge winners were congratulated at the ceremony by industry and institutional representatives, such as the European Commission, the German Aerospace Center, Planet, BayWa AG, Astrosat Ltd., Airbus and sobloo, the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), and AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, the organiser of the Copernicus Masters on behalf of ESA.
Next year’s Copernicus Masters submission phase will start on 1 April 2020.