A far-reaching pandemic – COVID-19’s impact on sectors where EO services could make a difference

A far-reaching pandemic – COVID-19’s impact on sectors where EO services could make a difference

High impact decision making, especially during unprecedented situations, requires reliable information and feedback loops. As experienced by each of us individually during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, adaptation and reaction are heavily reliant on the timely acquisition of dependable insight (in this particular case, symptoms, patterns of contagion, treatment, income certainty and social support, travel restrictions, etc). With humanity at a standstill due to widespread lockdowns, Earth Observation carried on enabling the designated…

The opportunity and challenge of building a Planetary Digital Twin

The opportunity and challenge of building a Planetary Digital Twin

Prototyping and modelling are very much the norm among innovators and advanced manufacturers, as they offer extensive testing and refinement opportunities, vital when fiddling with novel, high impact technologies. But what if modelling could help humanity better understand Earth’s complex ecosystem and the different components at play? Introducing “Digital Earth”: concept, next steps, and opportunities. More than twenty years ago, U.S. Vice-President Al Gore articulated a vision of “Digital Earth” as a multi-resolution, three-dimensional representation…

Swift as the wind: current and upcoming trends in the wind energy sector

Swift as the wind: current and upcoming trends in the wind energy sector

Increasingly frequent, there is news about renewable energy (RE) overtaking traditional energy sources. In the first half of 2020, and for the first time ever this ground-breaking milestone has been achieved: more electricity in Europe was generated from renewable sources than from fossil fuels. But does this signal a “wind of change”? To assess this, we look into the future development of the field, with particular attention to the wind energy sector, and the upcoming…

Monitoring the status, function, and disruption of ecosystems

Monitoring the status, function, and disruption of ecosystems

Ecosystems are open, dynamic, and highly complex systems of coexisting organisms and their natural environment. Keeping these systems stable and in balance can be desirable if it affects biodiversity, the food chain, other resources and functions critical for humans, and the liveability on Earth in general. Manmade and natural disasters, the climate, and the use of land, the oceans, and even airspace can disturb this balance. To keep things under control, it is necessary to…

Navigating the landscape of EO platforms

Navigating the landscape of EO platforms

The first images of Earth from space were taken in 1946 from aboard a V-2 rocket sent to space by the United States. They had no market as such, but less than two decades later the first weather satellites sent their images back to Earth. Ever since, the amount of satellites, of the data they capture, and the applications and business models they serve has vastly increased. To be able to make use of this…

European Green Deal in need of monitoring solutions

European Green Deal in need of monitoring solutions

In December 2019, the European Commission (EC) presented the European Green Deal as the strategy and roadmap that will guide Europe towards becoming climate-neutral by 2050. The European Green Deal is made up of policies and initiatives, e.g. regarding clean energy, biodiversity, sustainable food systems, and pollution. It aims to tackle climate-environmental challenges, but also to transform the European economy and society towards sustainability and inclusiveness, protecting its natural assets as well as health and…

Health check from above

Health check from above

Human health is precious, foremost for the individuals themselves, but also for society as a whole. In good health, citizens can perform better and keep healthcare costs lower. Various factors influence our health, including the air we breathe, the food we eat and the way we lead our lives. Our overall wellbeing is also influenced by socioeconomic factors such as social environment, wealth, or education. In this context, many policies have our health at their…

How Earth Observation is helping us rethink our approach to agriculture

How Earth Observation is helping us rethink our approach to agriculture

Around one third of all food produced for human consumption currently goes to waste while, simultaneously, over 10% of the world’s population is suffering from hunger and malnutrition. If we could reduce these enormous food wastages, it is estimated we could feed an additional 1 billion people and reduce our global carbon footprint by 4.4 Gt CO2, equating to over 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This startling information alone should be enough for us…

Policy, market and technology trends in EO-assisted water resource management

Policy, market and technology trends in EO-assisted water resource management

A lot of the recent technological and market developments in the realm of Earth Observation (EO)-assisted water resource management evolve in parallel with European policies where EO can have an impact. These are legislations such as the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), and the Floods Directive. The close relation between policy, market and technology can be seen within each of the e-shape pilots involved in Water resources management. Pilot 5.1…

Renewable energy and Earth Observation: photovoltaics in the centre of solar-related market, policy and technology trends.

Renewable energy and Earth Observation: photovoltaics in the centre of solar-related market, policy and technology trends.

This contribution is the first from a series of articles dedicated on the use of Earth observation (EO) within the Renewable Energy (RE) sector. While we will continue exploring different sub-sectors of RE, for now we focus exclusively on solar energy. The drying-up of non-renewable energy resources and the need to cut emissions and minimise as much as possible the negative anthropogenic impact that led to climate change, has caused many debates. As a result,…

EO achievements for disaster resilience bring new business opportunities

EO achievements for disaster resilience bring new business opportunities

Improving disaster resilience is a key global challenge that unites different stakeholders across the planet. Between 1998 and 2017, around 4.5 billion people have been affected by disasters, with catastrophes such as the Australian bushfires of 2019-2020 killing 1.25 billion animals and affecting biodiversity to an unprecedented extent. Furthermore, in 2018 alone a sample of 63 countries have reported $17.5 billion in direct economic loss, with agricultural losses reaching $13 billion. Specialists estimate that real…

Common Agricultural Policy – Driver and Beneficiary of Earth Observation solutions

Common Agricultural Policy – Driver and Beneficiary of Earth Observation solutions

The production of food, development of rural communities, and environmentally sustainable farming are all high on the agenda of the European Union (EU). Policies and support mechanisms for agriculture aim, among other, to secure the sufficient and sustainable production of safe food, employment and innovation in the sector, and a positive impact on linked communities and the economy at large. The EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP) is a partnership between agriculture and society, and between…