The new competition season is underway. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is once again looking for the best application ideas in the area of Earth observation for the Copernicus Masters. The international competition is organised by the Anwendungszentrum Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO).
"The political, business and scientific communities have a permanent need for reliable and up-to-date information in order to make decisions," explains Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board. Copernicus – the European Union (EU) Earth observation programme implemented in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) , the Member States and others – aims to provide this information based on Earth observation data. Copernicus delivers valuable data on Earth's surface, atmosphere, oceans, disaster situations, climate change and security.
"Germany is one of the leading nations in Earth observation. Copernicus continues to improve its many applications, demonstrating the pioneering role of satellite data in advancing digitalisation and transforming that data into information for everyday use," says Ehrenfreund.
Gunter Schreier from the DLR Earth Observation Center (EOC) in Oberpfaffenhofen emphasises: “We are determined to raise awareness of how remote sensing data significantly improves the sustainable management of our limited natural resources. The environment, health and energy use are a particular focus of the DLR Challenge.” The EOC coordinates the competition on behalf of DLR.
Best practice – the winners from Stevenson Astrosat Ltd
DLR is a founding member of the Masters and one of the main sponsors of the Copernicus Masters award. Over 150 ideas for the DLR Challenge have been submitted over the past seven years. The range of applications has been diverse, ranging from urban planning and thermal energy management to environmental issues, such as the monitoring of foraging grounds for bees and the observation of algae as an indicator of clean coastal waters.
Winners in recent years have come from both research institutions and the commercial sector. The 2012 Environmental Challenge category was won by the company Stevenson Astrosat Ltd with a practical idea that focused on the area of energy in the field of environment and climate. Company founder Steve Lee from Scotland proposed using Earth observation satellites to record and monitor the energy balance of buildings. ThermCERT, the project proposed by Astrosat, uses thermal infrared sensor data acquired by satellites and aircraft to improve the accuracy and quality of heat measurements. The same applies to determining energy efficiency with regard to carbon dioxide emissions. In this way, owners and operators of building complexes, public buildings or major facilities in particular can optimise their use of resources and plan their investments sustainably – by cutting energy costs and improving their climate footprint. The Earth observation system ThermCERT and the RAPID system – also developed by Astrosat – are already commercially available. For the last two years, the company has awarded its own prize at the Copernicus Masters.
For information about all the winners in recent years, visit: www.copernicus-masters.com/dlr.
The Copernicus Masters competition is organised by Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO). Located at the Special Airport Oberpfaffenhofen, the company offers two years of incubation support for start-ups in the aerospace industry. This initial assistance has helped a large number of commercial ventures establish themselves successfully in the marketplace. The Copernicus Masters Earth observation competition has been organised by AZO on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) since 2011. Each year, it presents awards for innovative and forward-looking ideas and business concepts that exploit Earth observation data from the Copernicus User Uptake strategy for commercial purposes and projects with societal relevance. With over 900 ideas submitted from 70 countries, the competition has developed into a leading international network for innovative Earth observation applications. The competition is primarily designed for start-ups and other, primarily small to medium-sized enterprises, as well as researchers and students. The winners will receive their prizes during the Copernicus Masters Europe awards ceremony in November 2018.