EUSpace4Ukraine Platform Stimulates Use of EO and Satellite Positioning in Ukrainian Relief Effort
News

EUSpace4Ukraine Platform Stimulates Use of EO and Satellite Positioning in Ukrainian Relief Effort

The EUSpace4Ukraine platform focuses on satellite data-based applications that help NGOs in Ukraine to deliver medical and food supplies, support evacuation efforts, and also help refugees find their way in other EU countries. EUSpace4Ukraine has been initiated by the European Union Agency for the Space Programme.

By fostering the development of competitive Earth observation (EO) applications, the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) – which has its head office in Prague, Czech Republic – contributes to innovation-based growth in the European economy. At the same time, the agency aims to contribute to the safety of EU citizens and the security of the  member states. In April, EUSPA worked together with the European Commission to create the EUSpace4Ukraine platform. The platform is aimed at matching developers of Earth observation and navigation apps with NGOs and other aid workers in war-torn Ukraine.

Rodrigo da Costa, executive director of EUSPA, comments: “We want to mobilize the EU space innovation community that can provide technological solutions to enhance humanitarian support for the Ukrainian people. Eight colleagues with knowledge of space technologies are working, part-time, on the EUSpace4Ukraine task force.” At the moment, the multidisciplinary team is spending most of its time communicating with interested parties to better understand their needs and explain the platform’s processes and activities. The platform currently lists projects from 27 organizations: 17 application developers and 10 NGOs/aid workers and data providers. The applications can incorporate satellite data from any distributor. The existing applications are publicly available on the EUSPA website.

EUSpace4Ukraine is not aimed at goals like helping the Ukrainian army or assisting the prosecution of war crimes. The scope of this initiative is humanitarian support.

Application Spectrum

A hackathon event will be held at the end of June (registration closes on 17 June) to stimulate the development of new applications using data from the EU Space Programme. “The EUSPA team has involved NGOs/aid workers to ensure the event output can effectively address current challenges. To ensure the quality of the products, they have engaged 15 mentors/experts who will support the development stages, and an expert committee will evaluate the technical quality afterwards. We expect the list of NGOs/aid workers to increase soon,” says Da Costa, referring to the growing efficiency in covering NGOs’ needs.

EUSpace4Ukraine is not aimed at goals like helping the Ukrainian army or assisting the prosecution of war crimes. The scope of this initiative is ‘humanitarian support’, and that still covers a wide range of uses – from supporting NGOs delivering medical goods via drones, to practical solutions that support the integration into EU countries of people fleeing the war. “Earth observation data might also contribute, for example, to analysis of the effects of the war in Ukraine, such as evaluating distribution routes, assessing the post-event damage or supporting agriculture and forestry. Some of the solutions listed under the EUSpace4Ukraine initiative can provide Copernicus data as well as processing and dissemination capabilities that can help in updating base maps. That is a challenging task, particularly in areas that face dramatic changes in infrastructure and land cover as a result of the bombing.”

The humanitarian support also extends beyond the Ukrainian border and could involve ‘normal‘ GIS applications. Rodrigo da Costa gives two examples: “In mobile applications that help people integrate in a new country, maps are utilized with important points of interest such as medical facilities, schools and addresses for local support.”

The EUSPA executive director outlines some challenges that permanently need to be addressed: “Thanks to testimonials of refugees and NGOs operating at the borders, we have identified several challenges and areas of need. Potentially helpful solutions to address these range from (1) applications for safe, timely and accurate navigation for population migration, (2) the provision of online platforms for the coordination of public/private helpers, (3) applications to help the understanding and inventorying of damage in Ukraine territories, and (4) safety and rescue solutions.”

The EUSPA team always welcomes new participants. More information: https://www.euspa.europa.eu/euspace4ukraine

The registration deadline for the hackathon is 17 June. For more information, go to https://www.euspa.europa.eu/EUSpace4Ukraine/hackathon#more

Make your inbox more interesting.Add some geo.

Keep abreast of news, developments and technological advancement in the geomatics industry.

Sign up for free

News

Keep abreast of developments in the geospatial industry

We encourage you to subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Subscribers also receive a digital copy of our bi-monthly magazine.