GEMSTONE monitoring tool initiative gets underway with InCubed support

Czech company SpaceKnow is developing GEMSTONE (the Global Economy Monitoring System delivering Transparency and Online Expertise) under an InCubed co-funding initiative. Based on Machine-Learning-derived data from satellite imagery, the platform will provide users with key insights on industry and supply-chain performance.

Businesses and public institutions often encounter a number of problems in sourcing useful industrial Earth observation data. Not only is it difficult to retrieve information promptly due to the time delay between a phenomenon occurring and related data becoming available, but analysts need to search a wide spectrum of sources to pull together actionable insights. Reliability is also an issue, with concerns that the data received may not be impartial or free from bias.

GEMSTONE seeks to address these obstacles by providing a single point of reference for data, based on indices computed through Machine Learning (ML) analysis of satellite imagery. Users benefit from access to performance information on selected industries and commodity supply chains, drawn directly from unbiased Earth observation data and rapidly processed with state-of-the-art algorithms.

With interactive features allowing customers to tailor the platform to their needs, GEMSTONE is primarily aimed at sectors including banking, insurance, government, automotive and energy. Knowledge can be gained for a specific area or country, or topics of interest can be selected such as lithium or wood production. Customers can also pinpoint sites related to a company or product and then monitor accumulated data at these locations.

GEMSTONE forms an integral part of the wider mission of SpaceKnow. Its Economic Products division is creating what it terms a virtual encyclopaedia of the physical world, fusing satellite imagery data with ML and advanced statistics to create actionable geo-information.

“The things we do at SpaceKnow are supporting key decision making all over the globe, and GEMSTONE will be a premium platform delivering our insights to financial and industry leaders,” commented Jaroslav Javornicky, SpaceKnow’s Co-founder and CEO. “Working with ESA’s InCubed programme gives us access to financing and additional EO expertise that together provide a vital springboard for accelerating our time to market.”

For ESA Technical Officer Piera di Vito, the commercial advantages of GEMSTONE are clear: “GEMSTONE aims to offer a fully scalable product that will bring multiple satellite imagery sources into one place and transform location-specific knowledge into business indices. The platform has the potential to satisfy the demand for a state-of-the-art solution that effectively streamlines outputs without the need for further analysis. As such, GEMSTONE is set to become yet another example of the value of EO in industrial applications, and we’re pleased that InCubed is supporting this activity.”

After kicking off in August 2021, the development of GEMSTONE is progressing well, with data sets and data labelling now complete. The next major review of the initiative is scheduled for the end of April.

To know more: SpaceKnow, InCubed

ESA strengthens its support to start-ups with free cloud services from OVHcloud

Cloud service provider OVHcloud has agreed to make a free cloud service package available to innovative start-ups that collaborate with ESA Φ-lab, the ESA InCubed commercial programme, ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) and ESA Technology Brokers.

ESA Φ-lab, in its continuing effort to bolster start-ups that develop innovative products and services, is keen to provide such companies with a series of free measures to help boost their growth. The first example of this assistance is access to cloud computing services, a vital tool for the development and deployment of New Space applications. 

The selected partner for this initiative is OVHcloud, an international provider delivering public and private cloud services in 140 countries. With over 400 000 servers lodged in 33 data centres, the company also offers domain name registration, web hosting plans and telephony. The OVHcloud Start-up Program has been running since 2015 and has so far helped more than 2000 enterprises with resources, training and advice.

In an agreement signed between OVHcloud and the ESA Directorate of Earth Observation in conjunction with the Directorate of Commercialisation, Industry and Procurement, any company granted a contract as part of ESA Φ-lab, ESA InCubed, the ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) or ESA Spark Funding from an ESA Technology Broker, will have access to a number of benefits free of charge. These include up to €100 000 of free credits for OVHcloud products and up to 20 hours of specific technical support from business experts.

ESA will inform its start-up community of the offer, and OVHcloud will promote the various ESA start-up incentives to companies whose products and services may be relevant to the space sector.

“As a leading European cloud provider, we’re very excited to launch this collaboration with ESA as it reflects our common interest in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the Space Economy,” said Jonathan Bowman Clarke, OVHcloud Start-Up Program Leader for Southern Europe. “With OVHcloud’s offering in combination with co-funding from programmes such as ESA InCubed, start-ups are able to access services that give an essential helping hand to early-stage ventures in the European space arena.”

For Michele Castorina of the Φ-lab Invest Office and InCubed programme, the benefits of the cooperation are clear: “This multi-Directorate agreement is a clear illustration of the coordinated support that ESA provides for economic operators, from incubation in the BICs to product development with Incubed. OVHcloud’s generous offer is a key enabler for start-ups, particularly during the commercialisation phase when setting up business services becomes a necessary part of getting the company off the ground. As such we’re more than happy to promote the OVHcloud Start-up Program to InCubed-supported entrepreneurs.”

Niels Eldering, Head of the ESA BIC and Brokers section at ESA, added: “We have a strong network of 23 ESA BICs and 7 Technology Brokers in over 70 locations in Europe. For our start-ups and innovative businesses, speed and connectivity are essential ingredients for capturing the market successfully, and we look forward to connecting our community to the opportunities that OVHcloud can bring.”

The offer is available to qualifying start-ups from 01 April. Further details can be found here.

To know more: OVHcloud Startup Program, InCubed, ESA BIC, ESA Technology Broker

InCubed co-funding launches EOMAP water-quality portal development

German company EOMAP has launched its development programme for EOSmart, an online solution for Earth observation-based mapping and monitoring of water resources. With funding support from ESA InCubed, EOMAP will collaborate with international stakeholders to produce a tool that puts enhanced information in the hands of water-management decision makers.

The world’s water resources are under ever-mounting pressure, as factors such as population growth and changing living standards drive increases in both industrial and domestic consumption. National and local authorities, together with private water utilities, not only face significant challenges in keeping track of demand and changes in water quality, but must also focus on risk management, budgetary constraints and meeting reporting requirements.

These challenges give rise to a clear need for smarter approaches to managing fresh water and marine environments. But information on past, current and predicted trends in water quality is often hard to come by, and so EOMAP saw a clear opportunity to draw on Earth observation (EO) data to help support water managers in their processes. The EOSmart solution will provide key quality indicators built on satellite-derived measurements of properties including sediment concentration, phytoplankton, cyanobacteria and temperature changes. The platform will transform the data into actionable, relevant information that management teams can integrate into their routine operations.

Karin Schenk, Head of the EOMAP Water Quality Department, explains the game plan: “We’ll co-create EOSmart with both global players in the water market and government bodies, and in fact we expect market-oriented cooperation to be the key to the success of the endeavour. Our aim is to offer an end product that gives customers novel water-quality data at their fingertips.”

EOMAP is already well established in the sector, and supplies bathymetry and seafloor mapping services to a global client base. “For more than fifteen years now we’ve been providing extremely high-quality aquatic data and software based on Earth observation,” adds CEO Thomas Heege. “EOSmart will leverage this deep knowledge and further empower customers to work with physics-based water-quality data. The benefit for them will be increased safety and efficiency – at lower costs. We are also delighted to be among the first German InCubed activities.”

Piera di Vito is the ESA Technical Officer assigned to the initiative: “Supporting the development of a toolbox that helps to manage our most precious resource sustainably is of value for society and a good fit with the profile of EO-centred products and services co-funded by InCubed. We look forward to seeing how EOSmart progresses this year, firstly with product development and then with the pilot, which will be a first chance to demonstrate the performance and potential of the product.”

To know more: EOMAP, InCubed