Estonian ICT Company is developing a new early warning system based on European satellite open data
Estonian ICT Company Datel is developing a new early warning system based on satellite open data for large infrastructure, e.g. bridges, railways, pipelines, port areas and mines, as part of a research and development cooperation contract with the European Space Agency. The new service, targeted at the global market, makes the monitoring of large infrastructure significantly more accessible and thus increases the security of society.
According to CEO of Datel Urmas Kõlli, on the basis of good practice in Estonian e-governance, a new e-service oriented towards the international market is set to launch. The innovative early warning system can detect shifts or subsidence of up to 1 mm with the support of satellite data. "This solution will make monitoring the technical conditions of infrastructure accessible and financially feasible even for medium-sized companies and organisations,” Kõlli explained. “Currently, this key service is only available to global infrastructure enterprises and organisations related to national defence and security."
Datel's Head of Software Development and Technology Agu Leinfeld feels that the solution has great potential on the global market. "It can be instantly implemented around the world,” he said. “Using the Earth's long-range observation satellites, we can essentially monitor any major infrastructure anywhere on the planet. Working with the European Space Agency guarantees the highest quality for the solution and provides additional assurance for our partners and future customers."
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 new value chains. "The service uses open data from the satellites of the European Union's Earth remote sensing programme Copernicus, there’s a research-intensive signal and a lot of data processing, and on top of that the new service is oriented towards global markets," he said. "This sort of collaboration is only possible for our companies thanks to the fact that Estonia has been a full member of the European Space Agency since 2015. 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 ownership and the opportunity to use them for commercial purposes remain with the Estonian companies. I’m convinced Datel's new early warning system for infrastructure has great potential on the global market."
The development of the early warning system has been an enormous project for Datel and its partners, with more than 20,000 work hours invested over a couple of years.
“Interpreting the data coming from space correctly is really research-intensive,” Leinfeld explained. “To achieve great results, we’re working with universities on several continents. Everything related to space and satellite data is one of the most complex yet fascinating research areas for both students and scientists. “We’re currently testing the system in collaboration with partners from both Estonia and the USA, and the service is scheduled to launch in a couple of months. In Estonia, one of our partners is the Public Road Administration, while in America it’s the state of Maryland."