Information from crowdsourcing for satellite-aided Earth observation data was the overriding topic celebrated at this year’s 2012 Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Masters competition, held in Munich, Germany.
With more than 100 entries from 20 European countries, this year’s GMES Master’s competition did not disappoint. Winners came from all over Europe, showing just how much talent there is spread across the European Union in the field of global monitoring for environment and security.
Organized by the European Space Agency (ESA), German Aerospace Center (DLR), T-Systems, Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, and European Commission, prizes totaling 335,000 euros were awarded at the event, which was attended by State Minister Dr. Wolfgang Heubisch.
The overall winner of the GMES Master was chosen by an international panel of experts. Dutch company BlackShore-Creative, with its project Cerberus, was crowned the 2012 GMES Master and received a prize of 20,000 euros. The Cerberus platform uses crowdsourcing to lower the time and costs involved in analyzing high resolution (VHR) satellite data.
Professor Dr. Volker Liebig, director of Earth Observation Programmes at the European Space Agency (ESA), had much praise to shower upon the overall winners.
“Cerberus represents an innovative approach to using GMES data that informs the public of possible applications of Earth monitoring information,” he stated. “In doing so, this crowdsourcing tool involves users directly and systematically in evaluating satellite data, such as in disaster management and environmental protection.”
The fortunes of Blackshore-Creative didn’t end there, as company representatives also picked up first place in the European Space Imaging High-Res Challenge.
The top spot for the Ideas Challenge went to Daniele Di Erasmo and his team from Serco (Italy). Their use of MOSP-RIOS Off-Shore Oil Spill & Flaring Monitoring, an Earth observation service which enables comprehensive, cost-effective monitoring of oil spills and gas flares on offshore oil platforms using Sentinel-1 and -2 data, was deemed the best in their category.
A crowdsourcing project also was victorious in the ESA App Challenge, with a prize awarded to Dr. Harald Skinnemoen and Norwegian company AnsuR Technologies AS. Their ASIGN app uses crowdsourcing to support personnel deployed in disaster areas by encouraging users to take pictures of the current situation on the ground.
For the DLR Environmental Challenge, Steve Lee from Stevenson Astrosat Ltd. (United Kingdom) was honored for the ThermCERT Thermal & Carbon Efficiency Reporting Tool project. The company designed an instrument for compiling findings on buildings’ thermal and carbon dioxide efficiency.
Dr. Tim McCarthy and his team at iGeotec Technologies Ltd. (Ireland) were awarded the T-Systems Cloud Computing Challenge prize for their project, WAMSAPs, a cloud-based platform where users can access a combination of satellite and airborne Earth observation images in near real-time.
Dr. Virginie Lafon and her co-workers from French technology transfer unit GEO-Transfert took the award for the Astrium Radar Challenge for their project BALIST, which uses Sentinel-1 and -2 data to provide bathymetric mapping of coastal waters.
The prize for the final award, Best Service Challenge, was picked up by Francesco Bartoli of the Italian company Geobeyond Srl. The prevailing service, SnowMonit, improves information on avalanches based on remote sensing data.
John Holden is a science and technology writer with the Irish Times newspaper in Dublin, Ireland. He has written for a variety of other national and international publications, blogs and websites on scientific issues.