This year the Location Business Forum contained a space theme, which was held in English, apart from the other six themes. The idea was to bring up space possibilities, how spatial data enhances processes, quality of work and productivity especially for the location business community.
Already today, the EU Earth observation Copernicus programme with European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Sentinel satellites provide free EO data, to be utilized by the industry, government, institutions, citizens and research. ESA is developing a series of next-generation Earth observation missions, on behalf of the joint ESA/European Commission initiative GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security). Furthermore, there is an on-going boom of building nano-, micro- and cube satellites and launching single or constellations of satellites into orbit. Planet Labs has already 298 earth observation CubeSats in orbit of which 150 are active.
The question is, how are we going to use all available satellite data now and in the near future? The business is on the earth and with the data the satellites provide us.
With this as a background, the space track started with the keynote speaker Roope Takala from Durandal. Takala presented the on-going boom in new space building small satellites, high-lighted the problem with space debris and how to make use of the data in earth applications.
The three next speakers, Martin Jussi from CGI Estonia, Joni Norppa from Terramonitor and Christof Danzl from Collective Crunch spoke about earth observation data applications from different perspectives. They all utilized mainly Sentinel-2 optical data, but also Sentinel-1 radar data was an alternative if cloudfree data was not available.
For the mainstream users and industry the main challenges is downloading and processing satellite data. Terramonitor’s solution to gather Sentinel-2 data from the whole globe and provide it in easy accessable format for all users was a very interesting solution. Their solution has also gained high interest by ESA.
In the end Kimmo Isbjörnssund, ESA BIC Finland, moderated a panel of the previous speakers. The topics discussed were challenges in making business out of space data, and where do the speakers see the future in EO business. The main conclusion was, that the market will change completely within the five next years, mainly because the traditional space players will be mixed with the strongly upcoming new space. There will be enormous amount of satellite data integrated with other sources of data, and data analyzing will be the key in speeding up business.
As a summary Isbjörnssund presented the main points for a start-up company how to apply for ESA BIC, Miranda Saarentaus from Geowise, brought up possibilities for ESA Business Applications project funding and finally Markus Ranne from Business Finland explained their New Space Economy programme.
Miranda Saarentaus, Senior Adviser, Geowise Oy
The writer was moderating the Space theme at the Location Business Forum 2018