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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Winning Business Ideas For Satellite Applications

October 27, 2011

A heads-up car navigation display and a new approach to rainforest conservation were announced as the winners of the eighth Galileo Masters European Satellite Navigation Competition and the new GMES Masters European Earth Monitoring Competition, both supported by ESA.

Together with the two overall winners, eight Galileo Masters special topic prizes, five GMES Masters challenge prizes and 23 regional prizes were awarded at the ceremony in Munich, Germany.

The prizes were given for the most creative business applications of satellite navigation and Earth monitoring for public and commercial use. 

The winners of the Galileo Masters were selected by a panel of international experts, including ESA representatives, out of the 401 proposals from almost 50 countries.

This year´s best satnav application is the ℠True3D Heads-Up Display´. Submitted by Juliana Clegg of Making Virtual Solid, this augmented-reality navigation display provides non-distracting, translucent guidance to untrained drivers looking through the windscreen.

Out of an impressive 108 proposals from 17 countries, the winner of the first GMES Masters prize is the ℠Deforest Action Earth Watchers´ system.

Submitted by Dutch geo-information company GEODAN, this new approach to rainforest conservation combines GMES data, crowd-sourcing, social media and ground teams to help halt illegal deforestation.

GMES is Europe´s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security initiative to provide easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.

ESA innovation prize

Through its Technology Transfer Program, the Agency sponsors the Innovation Prize for the most promising satnav application that can be quickly developed into a profitable business.

In addition to the 10 000 cash award, the winner might be hosted at one of the five ESA Business Incubation Centers, receiving technical and financial assistance to make the idea a reality.

From this year´s record 91 proposals, the winner is ℠twofloats´, a proximity service that tracks and tells registered users when they are close to each other. Members would never again miss an opportunity to meet.

ESA app challenge prize

In the first GMES Masters competition, ESA was looking for the best proposal for using GMES on mobile phones.

The ESA App Challenge prize went to German company EOMAP for their AquaMap, which uses data from several satellites including the upcoming GMES satellite fleet to provide near-realtime, high-resolution information on water quality.

Accessible via smart phones and incorporating cloud computing, the service appeals to private users, such as scuba divers and seaside tourists, and professional offshore companies — in fishery management, for example.

Both Galileo and GMES are on the cusp of operations. The European Satellite Navigation Competition and the new European Earth Monitoring Competition are encouraging innovative small, medium and start-up companies to generate new ideas and develop business models for applying satellite navigation and Earth-monitoring technologies, as well as in raising public awareness of the advantages of space technology in Europe.

The winners have the chance of support from one of the five ESA Business Incubation Centers and of funding from ESA´s Open Sky Technologies Fund that nurtures the most promising business opportunities arising from space technologies and satellite applications for terrestrial industries.

Last week´s launch of the first two Galileo satellites is a major step towards full operations of the satnav system.

Once operational, it will boost the exploitation of commercial applications in nearly all types of businesses, including the automotive sector, environmental conservation, social media and tourism.

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Source: ESA