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Satellite-enabled Agriculture


Spacenus News

Geospatial Framework as a Service – ESA- Kick-Start Project Kick-off

Nicholas Cointepas

Spacenus GmbH is pleased to announce the kick-off of its latest project under Kick-Start Activities in the topic Food Security which have been launched by Business Applications Programme of  the European Space Agency (ESA). Under this program, we will try-out and test our “Geospatial Framework as a Service”, or GFaaS for short. The Spacenus GmbH GFaaS is a novel approach to processing, storing and manipulating Earth Observation (EO) data for the benefit of the agricultural industry.

GFaaS will have dual functionality. On the one hand, it will be a system that aggregates vast amounts of processed EO and other geospatial data, and combines this with compute clusters that can host analytical algorithms, and an API that can handle automatic requests, delivery and payment. GFaaS will also serve as a crowd-sourced marketplace, where companies or research institutions can request algorithms that can help to answer their most pressing agricultural productivity concerns.

Methodological Framework of GFaaS

Methodological Framework of GFaaS

The idea for GFaaS stems from our own efforts in creating satellite-enabled tools for agriculture. We noticed a real inefficiency in how EO data from commercial and public satellites is made available for analysis. To solve this, we designed a more streamlined process for internal use which worked above expectations. Now, through the ESA Business Applications, we aim to scale up this system architecture, add functionality and subsequently make it available to the wider market.

The new system architecture retrieves raw EO data and other geospatial data, processes the raw data into analysis-ready formats, and stores the processed data for later use. When called upon, a GPU powered compute cluster runs analytical algorithms directly on this processed data. Finally, our API gives flexible and smart access to the system by handling requests, delivery and payments automatically.

On top of this system architecture, we aim to create a marketplace that brings together organizations seeking answers, and developers that create the tools to find these answers. Organizations can submit the problems they wish to solve using EO and other geospatial data. Spacenus GmbH then invites developers, researchers and companies to create solutions to these specific problems. Spacenus vets the results, and makes the best-suited algorithms available to the organization. The developer of the best algorithm will enjoy a share in the profits of their work.

We envision the main beneficiaries of this GFAAS system to be agribusinesses, including agrochemical, machinery and insurance companies. They will have painless access to near-real-time, high-quality processed EO data, as well as the analytics they need to address their various agricultural productivity concerns. Beyond that, GFaaS gives EO data providers a distribution channel that pre-processes their data for analysis and makes it readily available to users. Similarly, our algorithm cluster lets developers (e.g. companies, researchers or programmers) develop, deploy and test their technology within GFaaS, providing a way to easily and immediately analyze a vast amount of pre-processed EO data. The GFaaS API also allows for EO data providers or algorithm developers to monetize their data or algorithms.

On December 2nd of 2017, Spacenus GmbH and ESA Business Applications officially kicked off the GFaaS Kick-stat project. This feasibility study will last until mid-2018, after which we expect to move on to the next stage, further developing the proposed services. Interested parties are more than welcome to get in touch.