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How to make infrastructures safer through satellites’ data

The Estonian IT company Datel, specialized in developing geographical information systems, has announced the launch of its early warning system Sille. The innovative e-service will be able to detect in real time ground’s and infrastructures’ shifts and subsidences of up to 1-millimetre, thanks to data collected from satellites of the European Space Agency (ESA). The new software allows each user to constantly monitor the physical conditions of huge public and private infrastructures such as bridges, railways, highways, pipelines, harbours, mines as well as – potentially – private buildings. The system will be launched after 2 years of development and more than 22,000 working hours invested.

The upcoming benefits of the new system would not have never happened if Estonia didn’t become a full member of the European Space Agency in 2015. Since then, the country has started to contribute financially to the development of the various projects such as Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth Observation Programme. Its goal is to look at our planet and its environment for the ultimate benefit of all European citizens. It offers information services based on satellite Earth Observation and in situ (non-space) data.

European sentinels have been on the Earth’s orbit for four years already, and only recently both public and private sectors are realizing that the open data they collect every day can have an important impact on the citizens’ lives and security. Data is collected from two sentinels, which use Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) to detect surface movements with an accuracy of a few millimetres per year and can provide an accurate tool for monitoring land subsidence, structural damage and underground construction, to improve safety and reduce economic loss. The well-designed interface of the software shows the subsidence of infrastructures diachronically and it enables to export data in different file formats.

According to Madis Võõras, the Head of the Estonian Space Office, the service offered by Datel is a good example of technological innovation based on the collaboration between the ESA and the private IT companies such as Datel. “The ESA’s financial contribution to the development of our enterprises has been remarkable over the last couple of years. The ESA has the right to use the innovative new services created under the cooperation contract, but the ownership and opportunity to use them for commercial purposes remain with the Estonian companies.” Võõras said.

“We want to contribute to the value of actors who manage large infrastructures which have a considerable impact on the environment and to the citizens” said Agu Leinfeld, Head of Software Development and Technology at Datel. “We feel that the solution has great potential on the global market and it can be easily implemented” Leinfeld concluded.

 

 

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