Welcoming more than 120 participants over two days the event provided ample opportunity for networking and the exchange of ideas. The keynote talk from Geoff Sawyer, EARSC, set the tone for the event looking at the status of the Earth Observation industry now and a look at changes and developments into the future.
Over the course of two days we learnt how the Earth Observation industry is in a constant state of renewal. As satellite imagery with higher resolution becomes available it is being used in new ways to give deeper understanding and to provide greater situational awareness. While in traditional areas of remote sensing, such as agriculture, the new image resolutions are providing more detail and information to support and improve existing services and monitoring.
After a general welcome and update from the WorldView Global Alliance partners covering general news and the year’s broad achievements, the first guest speakers on day one began with a focus on European Programs. Talks from the Joint Research Center (JRC), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission (EC) shared details on their current projects and the value of very high-resolution (VHR) satellite imagery within their programs. More specifically Pär-Johan Åstrand, JRC, explained the growing use of VHR satellite imagery for the Common Agricultural Policy, Véronique Amans from ESA talked about the Copernicus Space Component and the data offering and services of the Data Warehouse Phase 2, while Peter Zeil, EC, went on to delve deeper and give insight into the status of the Copernicus services. This session concluded with a presentation from Christopher Sandow, GAF AG, on their contribution to the Copernicus Emergency Management Service.
Directly after lunch there was a breakout program in three parts – presentations, posters and WorldView Global Alliance information booths. Seven partner and reseller presentations covered a range of topics exploring current projects using satellite imagery. Firstly, Stephen Spittle, Satellite Applications Catapult, UK, explained how they have been helping police operations through applying imagery. Wessam Abd El Fattah, Edge-Pro, Egypt, showed how the peculiarities of satellite data can be exploited to analyze and assist traffic monitoring. The Anwendungszentrum Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO) gave insight into the new space economy and the search for new applications employing optical satellite imagery. Aurelio García Rochera, COTESA, introduced a European military mapping project centered on using very high-resolution satellite imagery. Simon Plank, German Aerospace Center (DLR), gave an overview of how satellite imagery is being used to verify destruction of heritage sites in dangerous places. Vana Giavi, TotalView, introduced a small project counting beach umbrellas in Greece which brought big benefits in terms of income to the municipalities. Finally, Petra Füreder and Stefan Lang from the Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS, University of Salzburg showed how they are helping NGOs by mapping the movements of displaced people to assist the humanitarian effort. Daniela Valentino, Planetek, presented a poster about the Preciso Family and another about Posidonia Monitoring. These sessions covered hot topics of the day and provided a more intimate atmosphere for discussion and information sharing.
The last session of the afternoon concentrated on the Maritime sector and the ways in which imagery is applied to help decision making. Han Wensink, HERMESS/Ocean Space Consult explained the benefits of satellite data for shipping and in the offshore energy sector to help reduce risk where human activities interact with the environment. Thomas Heege, EOMAP discussed his applications supporting coastal engineering and environmental monitoring. Pascal Schichor, European Space Imaging together with Holger Maass, German Aerospace Center (DLR) gave nitty gritty insight into the workings of the near real-time vessel detection using VHR for the European Maritime Safety Agency project OpSSERVE.
Day two began with a session on Conflict, Crisis and Disaster which focused on the current events affecting Europe and the world. Einar Bjørgo, UNITAR-UNOSAT, spoke about how they are using remote sensing to protect civilians and cultural heritage while Iain MacInnes, DigitalGlobe, added a presentation about how imagery supports situational awareness in crisis events. Finally, Stefan Voigt representing the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the International Working Group on Satellite Emergency Mapping (IWG-SEM) discussed current aspects of satellite based emergency mapping in relation to current world events.
After morning tea participants were treated to an extended session focused on Safety & Intelligence. The value of open source data to give insight and understanding was demonstrated by Andy Dinville, AllSource Analysis. He explained how this data was used to verify and track the build-up of Russian military presence in Syria, while Andrew Haggard, Bellingcat showed how open source data was the key to verifying Russian military involvement in the Ukraine and in relation to the crashed MH17 plane. The extended capabilities of WorldView-3 satellite 30 cm imagery came into focus with Frido Kuijper, TNO, showing how it has improved the quality of 3D simulation for military operations by providing real-scale understanding in the virtual training world. Antonio Gamarra, European Union Satellite Centre, explained how the finer resolution can be better exploited and analyzed to provide greater understanding for projects.
Jeff Reux, Geo4i, introduced his company’s advanced analysis tool which offers dynamic reporting for satellite imagery integrating any source data, making it a powerful tool. His talk led into the final afternoon session on Big Data with Giovanni Marchisio, DigitalGlobe, discussing ways this enormous amount of geospatial big data can be turned into relevant information through evolving cloud applications. Lastly, José Lorenzo, Atos, opened the audience to a discussion on the international protocols for storage and use of big data sets with a special focus on where the geospatial industry sits within this discussion.
Speaker Jeff Reux from Geo4i explains the workings of his dynamic reporting application.
WorldView Global Alliance User Conference was held at Künstlerhaus in Munich.
Participant HansWensink from HERMESS adds his comments to the discussion
Networking lunch during the WorldView Global Alliance User Conference in Münich
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