European Space Imaging finalized the collection of nearly half a million square kilometres of satellite imagery for the European Commission. This marks the completion of its VHR Image acquisition for the 2017 Controls with Remote Sensing (CwRS) program with a 100% success rate – demonstrating once again the company’s capacity and reliability as Europe’s leading very high resolution satellite image provider.
The CwRS program monitors agricultural land for which farmers have been granted subsidies under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which amount to around €40 billion per year. European Space Imaging has been the major provider of very high resolution satellite data to the program since 2003.
“We are extremely proud to once again achieve a success rate of 100% in this challenging and important campaign,” said Adrian Zevenbergen, European Space Imaging’s Managing Director. “Our staff worked around the clock to achieve this goal.”
EU Member States give European Space Imaging an individual collection window for each of the 842 agricultural zones spread all over Europe, and on average it has 51 days to gather the data. This year cloudy weather over Latvia, the United Kingdom, and Ireland made the operation particularly challenging.
“Despite the clouds we managed to collect images for over 70% of the zones within two weeks of the window opening, which helps the EU Member States manage their own deadlines,” said Dr. Melanie Rankl, Project Manager at European Space Imaging.
From its ground station in Munich, European Space Imaging takes into account real-time weather conditions before directly tasking the world’s most advanced satellite constellation: WorldView-1, GeoEye-1, WorldView-2, WorldView-3, and WorldView-4. Direct tasking allows it to minimize cloud cover and increase collection efficiency – it was able to deliver the vast majority of imagery with less than 10% cloud cover.
“The addition of WorldView-4 to the satellite constellation in May 2017 really boosted our collection capacity,” said Dr. Rankl. “It gathered over 79,000km2 of imagery in less than four months.”
European Space Imaging is looking forward to continuing its role as a dependable imagery partner of the EU Commission and Member States into the future.
Since 1993, the European Commission (EC) has promoted the use of “Controls with Remote Sensing” (CwRS) as a system to control agricultural subsidies granted under the EC’s Common Agricultural Policy. Following the real time evaluation in 2003 and the successful operational application since 2004, the EC’s Joint Research Centre (Director General (DG) JRC), in agreement with DG AGRI, provides VHR satellite remote sensing data to the EU Member States (MS) administrations for their CwRS area-based subsidies.
The DG JRC provides technical guidance regarding the CwRS methodology as well as managing the image acquisition, ordering and communication with the member state administrations and image providers. Also, in close cooperation with the member states, it supports the definition of the imagery required. Satellite imagery is acquired through third party suppliers selected by the DG JRC like European Space Imaging who has been a key third party imagery supplier to these campaigns since the programs’ inception.