Local authorities have been invited to bid for funding of up to £400,000 to invest in projects that use satellite data to 'become more effective in its daily business or to provide new services to enhance the customer experience'.
The funding has been made available by the Space For Smarter Government Programme, and is intended for projects that help the public sector take the first or next steps towards making satellite data products and services 'part of routine operational use'. The programme is particularly interested in projects in the areas of natural hazard risk management, transport or Smart Cities.
Satellite data falls in to four main categories: Earth Observation, Satellite Communications and Position, Navigation and Timing.
Earth Observation data is used to provide weather forecasts and to create maps. Some Local Authorities use Position, Navigation and Timing for traffic management to optimise bus routes, reduce journey times and plan road building, among others. And satellite communications covers radio, TV and mobile applications such as communications to ships and planes in remote areas. Communication satellites are also used for hand-held credit card terminals.
Current initiatives that use satellite positioning services to enable residents to interact with their Local Authority include Fix My Street, the local reporting app from MySociety and Looking Local, a service owned and managed by Kirklees Council that provides access to council, housing, health emergency services organisations via TV, smartphone, mobile web, social networks and games consoles.
Expressions of interest should be submitted using the form available on the programme website and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 19 September. Winning projects must run from January to March 2015. Applications from individuals, consortia, companies and charities are also invited.
The Space For Smarter Government Programme aims to 'enable the public sector to save money, innovate and make more effective policy decisions by using space technology and data'. The group, in its first year, is embedded within the UK Space Agency and the Satellite Applications Catapult.
The UK Space Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.