Intelligent seafloor mapping wins the Galileo Masters 2018

Galileo has become part of our daily life and many users are not even aware that the latest purchased smartphones or location equipment are supplied with it. In fact, most of the ultra-modern applications will make use of Galileo GNSS. PlanBlue, providing an intelligent software linked to a specific underwater (hyperspectral) camera to improve conservation and industrial activities, was awarded as the Overall Winner of the international ideas’ competition Galileo Masters 2018 during its Awards Ceremony on 4 December in Marseille, France.

While the Earth’s atmosphere and ground surfaces are well monitored by satellites, there are no satellites in its oceans to identify biodiversity or plastics. The Galileo Masters Overall Winner 2018, PlanBlue has developed an automated and standardised monitoring technology that will speed up climate legislation and aid underwater construction industries. 

Hereby, Galileo data is incorporated in seafloor maps (geo-referenced) so that the exact same locations of the seafloor bed can be revisited. The intelligent software is linked to a specific underwater (hyperspectral) camera that facilitates accurate mapping of the seafloor. The high-quality data it produces can be used to explore the unknown 95% of the oceans whilst improving both conservation and industrial activities. In comparison to traditional monitoring, PlanBlue’s technology is faster, more accurate, geo-referenced, and up to 75% cheaper. Its seafloor maps feature interactive color-coding and can be interpreted by anyone, from policymakers to the general public. PlanBlue provides a new monitoring technology that is changing the way maps and seafloors are assessed. It enables the tackling of present-day challenges such as climate change.

Left to right: Carlo des Dorides, Executive Director of the European GNSS Agency (GSA), Dr Hannah Brooke and team, PlanBlue GmbH


“Satellite navigation is an essential element of modern mobility and a key technology, particularly in the age of a data-driven economy. This is exactly where the Galileo Masters competition comes into play. It provides a public platform to the creative community, in order to help promising business cases turn into solutions that are commercially mature and generate added value for business and society.” explains Thorsten Rudolph, CEO of AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, the initiator and organiser of the Galileo Masters.

27 more business cases and Challenge winners were recognised during the Awards Ceremony in Marseille by high-ranking industry and institutional representatives, such as the European GNSS Agency (GSA), the European Commission (EC), the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). In addition, 20 partner regions across the globe awarded the best competition entries.

Carlo des Dorides, Executive Director of the European GNSS Agency (GSA), said, “The Galileo Masters has once again proven to be a very effective promotional, scouting and support mechanism for new European GNSS applications. The GSA is proud to celebrate its 10-year cooperation in this useful initiative. The new applications inspired by this competition constantly advance the growth and use of European GNSS technology and help ensure that EU investment in space delivers real benefits to citizens.”

With its 10-year commitment, the GSA has made a significant contribution in forming the Galileo Masters into the most successful ideas competition for satellite navigation in Europe. The Galileo Masters (former European Satellite Navigation Competition) is the leading network for satellite navigation. It annually awards the best services, products, and business ideas using satellite navigation in everyday life, spurring the development of respective market-driven applications and continuously searches the most outstanding business cases related to GNSS, in line with the EU Space Strategy. By fostering entrepreneurs and startups, the innovation competition has the long-term objective of strengthening Europe’s competitiveness with high-tech space solutions on the global scale. Additionally, AZO established Europe’s first E-GNSS Accelerator programme, funded by the European Commission (EC). This programme offers the top three pitching startups access to dedicated incubation programmes at their preferred incubation centre of the Galileo Masters network all across Europe worth EUR 180,000.

The Galileo Masters 2018 Awards Ceremony took place in front of an international audience during the European Space Week 2018 in Marseille, France. Next year’s Galileo Masters submission phase will start on 1 April 2019.

Website Galileo Masters

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