Enabling the public sector to save money, innovate and make more effective policy decisions by using space technology and data

Sep 2016 - SBRI Competition stage 2 Winners Announced

2 September 2016 – The UK Space Agency has just awarded three demonstrator (Phase 2)  contracts, totalling ~£0.75M, as part of its two-stage SSGP SBRI competition. These projects cover plant health, water quality and flooding applications, and are due to conclude in March 2017. Project abstracts for the winning projects can be found by following these links:

View their presentations and videos from Phase 1

Projects Selected

Space Applications for Precision Plant Health Information, Response & Evaluation

Project lead: Rezatec

In Phase 1, Rezatec worked with the government organisation Forest Research (FR), to explore the feasibility of differentiating tree species of interest and their typical annual phenological pattern. The effort focussed on mapping the distribution of different broadleaved species within selected study sites, afflicted with newly introduced forest pests.  Rezatec utilised various Earth Observation sensors (e.g. Sentinel 1 C-band SAR, Sentinel 2 multi-spectral sensor, Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager) to map the distribution and abundance of these species. These EO data sets were complemented with ground-based data collection and accessory data sets (e.g. LiDAR, National Forest Inventory) and the data was integrated into data mining approaches including statistical clustering methods and classification post-processing algorithms.

In their  Phase 2 project, Rezatec will create a productised, market ready, demonstrator to identify and classify an expanded set of tree species of interest and their typical annual phenological pattern with specific focus on:

  • Identifying limiting issues with optical capabilities and applying SAR (used in Phase 1) to help address the challenges of the more obscure species and also addressing  linear features like trees lining infrastructure
  • Tree stress: validating stress against known scenarios and discounting them against false positives.  Identifying natural stress (versus an additional factor) will save time and cost to the end user community
  • Employing Sentinel 1 data sets to demonstrate the effective capability of SAR data in monitoring tree phenology, with standard EO multi-spectral imagery being used to complement the SAR imagery via data fusion techniques.

Click on the following links to see Rezatec's presentation and video from Phase 1 of the project.

Developing a scalable EO peatland assessment service

Project lead: Rezatec

Healthy and Intact peatlands act as a huge store and sink of atmospheric carbon, as well as a source of drinking water, and an important habitat for many plants and animals.  However, the quality of peatlands has been degraded over many years from drainage, landscape conversion and other anthropogenic disturbances. With rising levels of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in water running, water utilities are under increasing pressure to deliver on a safe drinking water supply to consumers as well as the ecological, social and economic benefits of maintaing healthy peatlands. Scottish Water are seeking methods to improve efficiency of water treatment across its catchments through upstream catchment management that maximises the effectiveness of its limited resources.

This project aims to scale, enhance and commercialise an EO-derived tool to allow the project end-user (Scottish Water) and other organisations that have an interest in peatland, both in Scotland and internationally, to reduce their operational costs in assessing, restoring and monitoring peat within catchments of interest for multiple benefits e.g. for water utilities, to improve water quality and in doing so reduce the costs associated with water treatment works.

Rezatec will derive peatland integrity and water quality risk data products using innovative techniques, primilarily based on open access data from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Sentinel EO sensors, specifically in the optical, infrared, thermal and microwave domains. Specifically, these data products will include:

  • Aspects of peatland soils, i.e. the distribution and depth of organic soil and soil moisture;
  • The abundance and distribution of positive and negative floristic indicators of typical peatland hydrology and associated measures of vegetation stress; and,
  • Identification of anthropogenic disturbances, i.e. ditching, forestry and grazing.

When integrated, these data products will enable synoptic, landscape-level assessments to identify hotspots of peatland degradation and disturbance. It will help prioritise degradation hotspots where restoration would be most cost effective for the water treatment process.

The project builds upon Phase 1 of the SSGP project to map, measure and monitor peatland integrity across Scottish Water catchments.

Click on the following links to see Rezatec's presentation and video from Phase 1 of the project.

National Flood Warning & Mitigation Service

Project lead: Telespazio

The consortium of Telespazio VEGA UK Ltd and Ambiental is developing a fully scalable flood management and mitigation service that augments current national procedures provided by both the Meteorological Office and Environment Agency (via the Flood Forecasting Centre) and the Cabinet Office (COBR) and their associated network of Local Resilience Forums. It addresses specific challenges articulated by these HMG end user groups during Phase 1 consultations and workshops, as well as meeting the requirements of the Environment Agency for flood extent delineation, of DEFRA’s desire to put flood mapping products on everyone’s desktop and the desire of the Cabinet Office for accurate early warning to assist in their preparation and response procedures. 

These objectives will be achieved by combining the significant developments achieved in Phase 1 by both Telespazio and Ambiental, producing an innovative flood warning and mitigation service that draws upon existing technology and solves current complex limitations, such as real-time urban flood extent mapping with new technologies.

The objectives of the proposed National Flood Warning & Mitigation Service are as follows:

  • The production of twice daily delineated flood extents, including urban regions using satellite data and when combined with sophisticated flow modelling will be able to provide near real time flood forecast updates to derive accurate flood extents during incidents.
  • The automation of processing chains set out in Phase 1, reducing time needed for flood map updates enabling higher levels of autonomy and reactivity within government for producing flood warnings.
  • To construct an innovative web mapping service that has the scope to become a critical tool in UK flood crises, that allows through connection to the ResilienceDirect™ portal Category 1 & 2 responders access to up to date satellite flood mapping.
  • The creation of a web mapping service that draws on multi-source data to create an enhanced situational awareness of flood events by exploiting crowd sourced data, drone-derived imagery enabling real-time in situ visualisation on current flooding from local to national scales. To meet public service dissemination expectations, this will be available via the Internet and for the first responder community in particular via ResilienceDirect™
  • The creation of a sustainable commercial model, based upon the development of satellite flood maps, through modelling to provide quantifiable loss information for the (re-) insurance market and critical national infrastructure owners.

A complete project comprising an automated flood warning web mapping service will provide real-time flood data to user groups responsible for the warning and resilience of destructive flood events across the UK. 

Click on the links to view the presentation and video from Phase 1 of the Telespazio’s project, and on the following links for Ambiental’s project presentation and video.