From the 6th-8th March more than 100 delegates from over 20 countries gathered at the IET Savoy Place in London for the 2013 DMC and NovaSAR Conference.
The DMC conference, which we run every other year in collaboration with our sister company and constellation operator DMCii, brings together the constellation members and users of DMC satellite imagery to share experiences and the challenges they face. It also provides a forum for discussion on the future of the constellation and its technology, with particular interest this year in gaining more and faster data with an “always on” satellite like the forthcoming ‘Earthmapper’ project, and with SAR data that is unhampered by darkness and cloud cover.
The first day was devoted to the wide range of applications served by DMC data, with presentations by speakers from DMC consortium members Nigeria, China, Spain and users of imagery in Australia, the Netherlands, Japan, Russia and the US.
– Damien Lepoutre from GEOSYS and Koji Wakamori from JAMSS both discussed the importance of timely imagery in optimising fertiliser application and identifying when crops should be harvested.
– Russian imagery distributor ScanEx shared its experiences monitoring ice in shipping lanes, and the impact of volcanic eruptions.
– DMCii’s Professor Jim Lynch questioned the underuse of satellite imagery in forestry, as the only feasible information source to tackle illegal logging and to underpin carbon credits and timber traceability.
Geoscience Australia’s Stuart Minchin and Jasper van Loon both discussed the advantages of open licence data to consolidate national data infrastructure and encourage geospatial application development. Geoscience Australia has been using DMC data in place of Landsat data, due to the Constellation’s unique ability to provide regular imagery and monitor changes over time. The Netherlands has been using DMC data to monitor land use in their densely populated country and protect its famous dykes.
The DMC has an exciting future, with a wealth of new SSTL technologies in the pipeline. The ability to image at night and through cloud will offer huge benefits to a number of DMC imagery users, and the second day of the conference assembled remote sensing and technical experts to discuss the future applications of SSTL’s new Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite NovaSAR
NovaSAR is a new radar satellite with a SAR payload from Astrium that has been part-funded by the UK government that will make previously prohibitively expensive radar data available for civilian use – making it accessible to a broad range of end users. University researchers, government bodies and commercial users discussed situations where NovaSAR data would improve geospatial applications.
– SSTL’s Luis Gomes and Professor Nick Veck from the Satellite Applications Catapult began with overviews covering the history of the NovaSAR project and its possible uses.
– David Beard from the UK's Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) discussed how SAR data for could provide a more comprehensive means of monitoring activity in the world’s oceans.
– Dr Edward Mitchard from the University of Edinburgh discussed the use of SAR data for mapping biomass of forests and monitoring deforestation accurately over time.
– Chetan Pradhan from Logica outlined other applications that the cost-effective provision of SAR data from NovaSAR could be used for such as insurance and risk assessment, determining wave characteristics and oil and gas.
In the evening, delegates were treated to a slice of British history with a drinks reception at the Houses of Parliament, hosted by Pamela Nash MP, Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Space Committee. At the reception, a memorandum of understanding
was signed by Dr. David Parker, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, and Dr. Talgat Mussabayev, Chairman of the National Space Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan, heralding closer collaboration in space activities between the two countries in the future.
The final day of the conference was held at SSTL’s headquarters in Guildford. Delegates had a chance to tour SSTL’s state-of-the-art Assembly, Integration and Test facility, the Kepler building, as well as viewing Mission Control and DMCii’s new offices.
Thanks to all who attended the conference, and those that presented. We hope to see you next time!