EO-PLUGIN becomes first commercial InCubed activity ready for market

GeoVille and partners are the first companies to successfully complete an activity under ESA’s InCubed programme. The Austrian company has developed a new service for the agricultural sector together with partners from Austria (EODC) and the Netherlands (Hermess and Hilbrandslaboratorium B.V).

The agricultural sector is facing major challenges and opportunities, such as climate change, the steadily growing need for food and the implementation of the European “Green Deal Agenda”. Objective and timely information for decision-making is therefore becoming more and more essential.

GeoVille, a company from Austria specialised in the use of Earth Observation (EO) data, has now developed the new EO-PLUGIN service with partners that precisely addresses these aspects. This service is based on optical and radar data from Copernicus’ Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites.

EO-PLUGIN elaborates this information and enables the agro-food industry to integrate it into their work processes in simple steps. The system offers a range of initial customer-oriented services. These include quantification of plant growth, meteorological data and derived statistics, determination of soil moisture, risk assessment for potato diseases, classification of crop types, and yield estimations and forecasting.

GeoVille was co-funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the market-oriented ESA programme InCubed (Investing in Industrial Innovation). ESA provides funds to co-fund market-driven and innovative industry-led activities. InCubed supports companies in the commercialisation of EO focused technologies and services.

The EO PLUG-IN system was first tested by a specially spun out subsidiary called Geo4A, which focuses specifically on services for the agricultural sector. The specialised company was able to build up a strong position in the potato sector within two years.

So far, the activity shows how EO satellite data can be integrated into operational processes to actively support the agro-food value chain. This approach represents a blueprint for the entire EO sector.

The activity was concluded this year following the final review meeting on 1 December 2020.

David Kolitzus, Project Manager of EO PLUG-IN, adds: ‘’The commitment to bring EO based information solutions into the agro-food sector still holds up. The InCubed programme enabled us a quick and innovative market entry through financial and technical support. The primary market is currently the potato sector in the Netherlands. The topics range from reducing losses during breeding and logistics, through control capacities for production and trade, to develop new markets. EO PLUG-IN closes the gap between EO and the agro-food sector and supports public and private actors along the entire global potato value chain.’’

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Unibap collaborates with Amazon Web Services

Unibap’s SpaceCloud™ Services framework, co-funded by ESA’s InCubed programme, has become a member of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network and will begin integration with AWS. Together, Unibap and AWS will improve satellite data efficiency for aerospace and satellite customers.

On 15 December 2020, Swedish company Unibap announced its membership with the AWS Partner Network and phased integration with AWS during 2021. As well as providing aerospace and satellite customers with real-time access to AWS, this integration will simplify data management with lower latencies and reduced costs.

ESA has been co-funding Unibap’s SpaceCloud™ Services framework since it was selected under the InCubed programme for enhanced software functionality and standardisation in April 2020. Unibap’s collaboration with AWS will allow customers to quickly collect and immediately analyse data instead of relying on traditional storage and processing methods which can take up to 24 hours.

In Unibap’s press release, CEO Dr. Fredrik Bruhn says: “The timing of our collaboration to bring full cloud experience to space is perfect and is the culmination of many years of in-house development and continuous support from the Swedish National Space Agency and the European Space Agency. I am extremely pleased to be taking the next step of cloud computing to space with AWS and foresee enablement of new business models and space mission architectures that benefits commercial and government endeavors”.