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OBSERVER: Three Copernicus Incubation Programme start-ups on their way to success
OBSERVER: Three Copernicus Incubation Programme start-ups on their way to successfdc_copernicus_admin Thu, 21/03/2019 - 13:23
The Copernicus Incubation Programme launched by the European Commission supports European entrepreneurs and start-ups with an equity-free grant of 50 000 EUR to create innovative, commercially viable products and services. This initiative is part of the Copernicus Start-up Programme that also includes the Copernicus Masters, Copernicus Accelerator and Copernicus Hackathons. All European start-ups that are less than 5 years old are eligible for this programme as long as Copernicus data or services are a core part of their business.
Those interested in joining the Copernicus Incubation Programme have the opportunity to apply for the next round – the deadline is 31 May 2019. The full list of deadlines for 2019 and 2020 can be found on the Copernicus Incubation Programme website.
In this article, we will present three of the 22 start-ups awarded with a Copernicus Incubation grant in 2018, which were among the first to join the Programme. The Copernicus Incubation Programme has helped these companies to take the next step in developing their businesses, using either Copernicus Sentinel data or information products from one or more of the Copernicus Services.
e-Odyn is on board
SeaWaze Weather Routing. Credit: e-Odyn
e-Odyn offers an alternative to traditional methods for measuring ocean surface currents. These methods can be expensive, difficult to implement and limited in the amount of information they can gather, new breakthroughs in this field are needed. e-Odyn researched and developed a way to use ships’ geolocation data in combination with machine learning to measure real-time ocean surface currents, at a global scale. The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service products can add substantial value to the e-Odyn’s Omni-Situ ocean observation technology. By combining Omni-Situ technology and Copernicus data products, e-Odyn is developing and testing new services for the players in the marine industry.
e-Odyn joined the Copernicus Incubation Programme in May 2018. Florent Violain, e-Odyn’s Head of Offshore Projects, talks about their achievements during the past year:
“We’ve started multiple projects with big brands in the oil & gas and space industries and have started a strategic partnership with Microsoft to scale up the availability of our new service. This fuelled development of our next commercial service: SeaWaze, a weather routing product designed for commercial ships.”
A big challenge to any new venture is validating their product or service in the market and attracting the first users. The Copernicus Incubation Programme can speed up this process. e-Odyn is already launching an early adopter programme, recruiting ship owners and charterers who want to reduce their energy bills and emissions, improve safety and to simply be among the first to use the service under preferential conditions.
After implementation of the SeaWaze product prototypes, the start-up received positive feedback from the oil and gas industry. Additionally, new safety-enhancing and marine cost-cutting SeaWaze services were validated. “It’s been a very fruitful year for us!” – adds Florent Violain. "The Copernicus Incubation Programme was instrumental for us to iterate quickly and obtain very positive feedback on the use of our technology for the oil & gas industry."
New grounds for GVL
One of GVL’s full coverage maps. Credit: GVL
GVL operates in the environmental safety and security sector, providing a system that identifies and monitors very small ground motion. Ground motion is a natural phenomenon, leading to the uplift or sinking of the earth's surface on a millimetric scale. It can be influenced by human activities, e.g. tunnel drilling, mining, aquifer depletion etc. Information on ground motion and surface deformation is crucial for such industries as oil & gas, raw materials, environmental wellbeing, geohazard management or critical infrastructure monitoring, (e.g. power plants, hydroelectric dams, pipelines, bridges, etc.). The product developed by GVL serves as an early warning system. It provides surveys using multiple data sources, including Sentinel-1 data.
GVL won the grant from the Copernicus Incubation Programme in April 2018. Paul Bhatia, GVL’s CEO, talks about his achievements of the past year:
“This past year, we increased our headcount and InSAR data processing capabilities. We also expanded the number of projects to include assessment of flood defences, coal mines, quarries, dams, reservoir banks, forests and railway lines. This was largely thanks to the help of the Copernicus Incubation Programme, which has accelerated the growth of our business and has strengthened our position when negotiating with private investors.” Mr Bhatia highlights that as result, GVL has evolved to the point where 40% of the company’s revenue is generated through market revenue and paid trials with customers, up from 20% before being incubated.
The start-up has learned that success starts with solving a problem. Building on the technical solution it has developed, the company tested its product together with clients to gain their trust. Paul goes on: “Of course, you should also protect your intellectual property and unique selling points. But above all, be persistent and provide solutions that add value.”
DroneSAR to the rescue
DroneSar in the field. Credit: DroneSAR
DroneSAR was granted with the support from the Copernicus Incubation Programme in the first round of applications (March 2018). The start-up has built a platform that transforms basic commercially available drones into advanced Search & Rescue (SAR) platforms for emergency response and disaster relief missions. This Irish start-up aims to provide all drone users with up-to-date and ready-to-use satellite imagery from the Copernicus programme. DroneSAR’s CEO Oison McGrath talks about how his vision came to life:
“During our participation in the Copernicus Incubation Programme, we worked on combining Copernicus Sentinel satellite imagery with drone footage. We can use this combined drone and satellite data to execute autonomous search patterns and offer first-person view solutions for emergency coordination efforts. Having access to expert advice and also to the Copernicus datasets has made a huge difference to our progress. At the moment, our product is on the market and we already have revenues from 3 agencies in Ireland which are using DroneSAR.”
Thanks to the Copernicus programme, DroneSAR was able to develop a service fusing drone footage with satellite imagery available on their DroneSAR browser. This gives quick access to critical information during emergencies.
“During our Copernicus incubation year, we attended a number of Copernicus conferences and free webinars.” Oison continues. “We often shared our ideas with the community, and this helped us to quickly identify partners with whom we could move forward”. Oison added that thanks to the assistance received from the Copernicus Incubation Programme, DroneSar is already on in the final stages of raising venture capital investments.
“To really get the most out of the programme,” he continues, “you should use all the free data sets and mentoring advice from the Copernicus programme experts. They will help identify relevant opportunities and this will help your business grow.”
Since the launch of the Copernicus Incubation Programme in January 2018, 22 start-ups have been awarded an equity free grant of 50 000 EUR. All of them are in an advanced development stage to build a robust service or product based on Copernicus data or services. Any support that can help them progress before their business is self-sufficient is critical. The European Commission hopes that future commercial champions will emerge from the Copernicus Incubation Programme in the future, thereby ensuring a long-term success of the Copernicus Incubation Programme as an effective investment platform.
You could be an expert
Perhaps you want to help by becoming an expert? The Copernicus Incubation Programme is continuously looking for experts who are interested in spotting and coaching future Copernicus start-up champions. More specifically, the Programme coordinators are looking for professionals with experience in venture capital investments or start-up incubation. For more information, please visit https://copernicus-incubation.eu/experts-investors-incubators.
Monitors floods in malawi
Monitors floods in malawiadmin Tue, 19/03/2019 - 11:32
Heavy rains from 5 to 8 March caused flooding in the Southern Region of Malawi, impacting at least fourteen districts. According to the ECHO Daily Flash of 13 March, 45 deaths and 577 injuries have been reported with nearly 740,000 people affected by the disaster, and over 15,000 households displaced. On 8 March a State of Emergency was declared by the President of Malawi, and Malawi’s Department for Disaster Management Affairs (DoDmA) has been working with local partners to deliver disaster relief supplies (media report). Due to the scale of the disaster, additional support is being provided by international partners such as the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Childrens’ Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The Copernicus EMS Rapid Mapping module was activated on 10 March to produce delineation maps over seven Areas of Interest (AoI). The first set of delineation maps produced from imagery acquired on 10 and 11 March show a total flooded area of 4,200 ha (42 km2) and that around 320 inhabitants were affected by the floods within the AoIs.
The maps and vector data are available for viewing and download on the EMS website: EMSR347: Floods in Malawi.
For updates on our activations, follow Copernicus EMS on Twitter.
The delineation map of Sili showing 193 ha (1.9 km2) of the flooded area at the time of satellite imagery acquisition (Copernicus EMS © 2019 EU, [EMSR347] Sili: Delineation Map)
For more information contact
Flood in Mozambique
Flood in MozambiqueSpacetec Wed, 13/03/2019 - 14:15
On 9 March heavy rains caused flooding along the coast of Mozambique with the cities of Beira and Quelimane hit the hardest. According to the UN Resident Coordinator for Mozambique as of 10 March, ten deaths have been reported and approximately 63,000 people were affected by the disaster. These areas may suffer further flooding as the impending Tropical Storm Idai could cause strong winds, heavy rain and storm surge. The storm is forecast to reach the coast between 14 and 15 March and bring 90mm of rain within 24 hours and maximum sustained winds of 200-210 km/h. To meet this threat, a national joint operations centre has been established to distribute information to all relevant stakeholders and the inhabitants of Mozambique (media report).
The Copernicus EMS Rapid Mapping module was activated on 9 March to produce delineation maps over four Areas of Interest (AoI). The delineation map over the Beira AoI produced on 11 March shows that 1,187 ha (11.9 km2) and around 1,700 inhabitants were affected by the floods. The other three maps show no flooding detected at the time of satellite imagery acquisition.
The maps and vector data are available for viewing and download on the EMS website: EMSR346: Flood in Mozambique.
For updates on our activations, follow Copernicus EMS on Twitter.
The delineation map of Beira showing 1,187 ha (11.9 km2) of the flooded area at the time of satellite imagery acquisition
(Copernicus EMS © 2019 EU, [EMSR346] BEIRA: Delineation Map)
The ERCC Daily Map 11 March showing the situation in Mozambique,
Malawi and Madagascar and the impact of the disaster (Credit: ERCC)
For more information contact
+32 495 544 844 (European CET time)
Follow our Twitter feed @CopernicusEMS where maps and vector data are posted automatically in near real-time
CAMS signs partnership with weather application Windy
CAMS signs partnership with weather application Windyadmin Fri, 08/03/2019 - 15:31
The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) has recently signed a new partnership with leading weather forecast visualisation service, Windy. The partnership will deliver worldwide air quality information through Windy’s highly popular web and smartphone application.
Windy is a leading Czech start-up that enables approximately 800 000 people per day to see information about different weather parameters laid over a world map. The information is shown using moving particles that represent speed and direction, and colours that represent strength or density. A variety of weather elements are incorporated into the application, including wind, rain, lightning and different cloud types. Windy provides forecasts of these elements up to six days in advance.
ECMWF ozone layer forecasts in the Windy application. Credit: Windy and ECMWF
But where does this information come from? A lot of the weather data is provided by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), which implements CAMS on behalf of the European Union. ECMWF also contributes some information about the ozone layer, but environmental information is otherwise limited.
Through the new partnership, CAMS will provide Windy with daily forecasts of two key surface air pollutants: nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter (liquid or solid particles suspended in the air). In addition, CAMS will supply predictions related to several aerosols, including wind-blown dust, sea sprays, volcanic ash, pollution and particles from biomass burning. These forecasts will show the movement of these aerosols around the planet.
Air quality is a major global concern. It contributes to approximately 400 000 early deaths across the European Union every single year, making it the EU’s single greatest environmental health risk. It also reduces human life expectancy by an average of eight months, increasing to two years in the most polluted areas of the world. Being able to forecast air pollution can help people cope with this deadly phenomenon and should enable society to take measures on emissions and improve air quality overall.
“Visualising CAMS data is vital for helping people to understand air quality and Windy is really excellent for this,” explains Head of CAMS, Vincent-Henri Peuch. “Air pollution is not simply a local problem. It is transported by winds, leading it to affect people living far from where it was emitted. Our data allows people to see air pollution issues directly, including its sources and the transport of gases and particles through the atmosphere. It also supports citizens and policy makers in the combat against air pollution.”
Ivo Lukačovič, Founder of Windy, comments: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service to deliver high quality information on air pollution to our users all over the world. Now, more than ever before, we need to be providing data on air quality that all kinds of organisations can use which can ultimately help save lives.”
Windy has a global reach. It is used by governments, rescue teams, piolets, surfers and fishermen, with the number of users doubling each year. It is a service with global ambitions, and CAMS hopes to help it bring air quality data to more people around the world and, in turn, to help Windy’s audience grow further.
“We anticipate that the inclusion of CAMS data in Windy will contribute to making air quality forecasts as common as weather forecasts,” concludes Vincent-Henri. “The new air quality data will appear in the application by summer 2019.”
CAMS works with a number of partners to develop new applications using its data, which support users in a variety of domains including air quality, solar radiation, emissions of pollutants and surface fluxes of greenhouse gases. Are you interested in using CAMS data to develop your business? Contact us, we’d love to hear from you!
Ground subsidence in Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Ground subsidence in Mekong Delta, Vietnamadmin Fri, 08/03/2019 - 10:03
Ground subsidence is the sinking or settling of the ground that can occur due to various factors, for example, from the settlement of native low-density soils, or from the collapsing of natural or man-made underground voids. Subsidence is usually a slow gradual process as sags or depressions form on the ground surface. However, in some cases, it can create serious hazards and accidents can occur with no visible warning as sinkholes can open and swallow any structure that happens to be on top.
Subsidence has been affecting the Mekong Delta for decades. Whilst being a naturally occurring phenomenon, ground movement in the area has been greatly accelerated through human activities such as groundwater extraction and infrastructure loading. This accelerated rate of degradation exacerbates flood severity, coastline regression, and salinification of soil and water.
The Copernicus EMS Risk & Recovery Mapping (RRM) service was called upon in October 2018 to provide geospatial information to assist identification of the primary causes of ground subsidence and support the analysis of the relationship between detected ground subsidence and land use changes in the Ca Mau, Long Xuyen, and Rach Gia areas of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. The primary objective of the activity was to provide spatially and temporally consistent, dense and synoptic results with insights on the distribution and variance of subsidence phenomena in space and its dynamics in time.
The Persistent Scatter Interferometry (PSI) technique was used to derive precise measurements of ground deformations from stacks of archive SAR imagery from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite and from TerraSAR-X. The Final Report of this Risk & Recovery Mapping situation assessment detailing the technical aspects of the analysis performed and the results is available for consultation and download along with the maps and vector (digital) data: https://emergency.copernicus.eu/EMSN057.
For updates, follow Copernicus EMS on Twitter.
Estimated Annual Subsidence Displacement – 2015 (Copernicus EMS © 2019 EU, [EMSN057] Vietnam: Product 1: Estimated Annual Subsidence Displacement in cm (2015))
For more information contact