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Space Agency opens up extra data to public sector

17/06/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

The UK Space Agency has made extra optical and radar data freely available for public sector bodies through its Sentinel Data Access Service (SEDAS) portal.

Satellite shot of town

The move is part of an update of the datasets covering Britain and Northern Ireland under the Space for Smarter Government (SSGP) programme.

Ryan King, SSGP manager, said it has added more data to provide higher temporal resolution across key urban areas and infrastructure locations, along with several stacks of synthetic radar images to help detect changes in detail.

“From this we hope to see the public sector and wider supply chain working together to explore how high resolution satellite imagery can address key current challenges like remote asset management and environmental impacts such as the use of natural resources and changes in land use,” he said.

King added: “Since we first made this kind of data available to the public sector just over a year ago, we have seen 188 expressions of interest across 98 public sector bodies, and nearly 40 collaborations between government, industry and academia. We have already seen this data used for flood mapping, infrastructure monitoring, machine learning and habitat classification to name a few.”

Public service purpose

The data was first made available in March of last year to help the public sector in areas such as planning, development and environmental monitoring, and to boost the growth of the UK’s space industry.

The Space Agency said that industry and academia can also access the data if able so show a public sector sponsor and use case.

It is also working with government departments to help them understand how they can make better use of Earth observation data. This reflects an element of the newly published national Geospatial Strategy, which declares an intent to explore ways to rationalise the public sector’s procurement of Earth observation data and services.

The SSGP was set up in 2014 and is run with the Satellite Applications Catapult to support government in the use of space products, data and services.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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