Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, April 3, 2014—Today marks the launch of Sentinel-1A, the first dedicated satellite in the European Earth observation programme Copernicus. The data it emits from space will open doors to countless potential applications along the entire value chain. To support this new era, the Copernicus Masters competition will give recognition to outstanding ideas, applications, and business concepts that utilise Earth observation data for commercial purposes and socially relevant projects. Along with cash prizes, the winners will receive technical support in realising their ideas, access to satellite data, and start-up support from a prize pool worth a total of more than EUR 300,000. In 2014, for the first time, the Copernicus Masters is carried out on a worldwide basis. Geared primarily toward start-ups and other companies, researchers, and students, the competition will require entrants to submit their applications from 15 April to 13 July 2014 at www.copernicus-masters.com.
Through its Earth observation data and the information it provides on the world's environment, the Copernicus programme makes myriad products and applications possible in a wide variety of business sectors. This opens the door to fantastic opportunities, particularly benefitting innovative start-ups and SMEs. Unlike optical instruments, which are limited by weather and daylight, the Sentinel-1A satellite carries an advanced radar instrument capable of monitoring our world at night and through clouds and rain. The resulting radar data are especially suited for the maritime sector, such as in monitoring icebergs and oil-spill and planning navigation routes; to agriculture and forestry, where it can be used to observe land use and measure changes in vegetation cover; and to emergency response e.g. related to earthquakes and floods.
In the Copernicus Masters 2014, an impressive list of partners will feature topic-specific challenges, including: the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), European Space Imaging GmbH & Skybox Imaging Inc., CloudEO AG, Airbus Defence and Space & Hisdesat S.A., and Satellite Applications Catapult Ltd. The areas of energy and the environment, agriculture and forestry, transport and logistics, maritime applications, disaster management, and the use of remote-sensing data in smartphone apps will be of particular interest this year. The competition will also be focusing on the use of optical imagery and radar data that offers high resolutions with respect to time and space. Meanwhile, applications in forward-thinking fields such as big data, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, sensor technology, and wearable computing are explicitly encouraged.
The winner of each challenge will be selected by a jury of research and industry experts. Along with the prizes in the challenge won, the overall winner - the Copernicus Master 2014 - will receive EUR 20,000 and a satellite data package worth an additional EUR 60,000 (provided with financial support of the European Commission). All of the winners will be announced this autumn and recognised during a festive awards ceremony.
Since 2011, the Copernicus Masters competition has showcased the most innovative solutions for business and society based on Earth observation data. Its purpose is to drive the development of market-oriented applications for utilising data generated through Europe's Copernicus programme. The year 2013 was the competition's most successful to date, having garnered 144 submissions from 23 European countries - an increase of 35% from the previous year. The winners from the past three years are currently turning their business ideas into reality with the help of their challenge partners. Some even have already transformed their projects into market-ready products (learn more). Copernicus Masters is organised and carried out by Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen.
All further information on the prizes, partners, and terms of participation is available at the competition website, www.copernicus-masters.com.