A team from the University of Twente's ITC Faculty claimed third place in the European Commission’s (EC) and European Space Agency’s (ESA) Copernicus Masters ‘Sustainable Living Challenge’.
The awards were handed out at a ceremony on 25 October 2016 in Madrid. The placement means the team was also invited to take part in an Accelerator Bootcamp from 24-26 October in Madrid and an 8-month coaching program. MSc alumni Mr. Yismaw Abera (Ethiopia), Dr. Mila Koeva, and Dr. Rohan Bennett were part of the team.
The Copernicus program focuses on supporting entrepreneurship and business development around the use of earth observation data. After receiving more than 900 submissions from nearly 70 countries, the organizers have selected and rewarded 40 winners over the past five years. The awards are sponsored by: the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), T-Systems International GmbH, Satellite Applications Catapult Ltd., the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), and Stevenson Astrosat Ltd.
The ITC team’s concept is part of a broader suite of automated cadastral boundary extraction projects collaboratively being undertaken by the PGM and EOS departments at ITC – including Sophie Crommelinck’s work in its4land (its4land.com) and the post-doc work of Dr. Divyani Kohli. The pitch of Yismaw, Mila and Rohan focused on using high-resolution satellite imagery and readily available feature extraction tools and software to support faster and cheaper mapping of the millions of unrecorded land interests in sub Saharan African countries. Spatial documentation of land rights is known to be a key component in supporting delivery of sustainable development.
The Accelorator Bootcamp and subsequent coaching program provides the team with an industry mentor that works with the team over an 8-month period to convert the promising idea into a plan for market achieving and measurable results.