At one of the last big space events of 2022 in Rome, Italy, the Copernicus Masters network announced the 2022 competition winners. The overall winner of the competition is Green City Makers, a solution that also is one out of two winners of the 2022 ESA Frontier Tech Challenge.
Green City Makers helps cities benefit from voluntary carbon markets and reduce eco-anxiety among citizens with the help of satellite data, artificial intelligence, and civic watering campaigns. It integrates remote sensing data with IoT and open-source datasets for the implementation of AI models. These models identify urban trees needing irrigation, along with their water needs. Copernicus Masters is the global innovation competition for Earth observation (EO) initiated by ESA and has been driving entrepreneurial talent since 2011.
Using Earth Observation Data together with Artificial intelligence and IoT, Green City Makers offers an urban adoption to climate change. Green City Makers convinced the jury members for all of the prizes and challenges and was selected as the overall winner of this year’s Copernicus Masters competition.
Simonetta Cheli, ESA Director of Earth Observation Programmes comments: “This year’s edition of Copernicus Masters demonstrated, once again, the strength and importance of innovative ideas for the application of Copernicus data. Furthermore, this year’s winners of the ESA Challenges highlight the pivotal role of Copernicus in initiatives that are in line with strategic objectives of Europe – and the world – such as sustainability and climate change.”
The winning solution
Funding Cities’ Net-Zero Goals with Space Data, AI & Watering Campaigns Cities are major drivers of climate change and particularly vulnerable to its effects, yet they struggle to access financial flows to implement net-zero programmes and address their citizens’ eco-anxiety. They do, however, have a relevant asset in achieving net-zero emissions and funding climate-related projects: trees. Massive tree-planting schemes, a mega-trend in cities’ efforts to achieve net-zero, could also be a source of income through the sale of carbon credits. However, carbon markets are incredibly complex, and it is also discouraging when there is a low sapling survival rate due to a lack of watering support during trees’ first years of life.
Green City Makers simplifies the benefits cities can obtain from voluntary carbon markets while reducing eco-anxiety among citizens with space data, AI and civic watering campaigns. The data Green City Makers gathers from remote sensing, the IoT and open sources is integrated through the implementation of AI models in order to:
- identify urban trees that lack irrigation;
- calculate their water needs; and
- develop solutions for cities and our business model.
Green City Makers has been successfully implemented in 53 cities on three continents. With this urban adaption to climate change as one of the global challenges Earth Observation Data can support, Green City makers edged out more than 140 other ideas to become the overall winner of Copernicus Masters 2022.
Green City Makers
Green City Makers is a global civic movement that was born in Lisbon Portugal 2020 with one goal:
to simplify families and cities to become planet-superheroes in the fight against climate change.
We know that climate change is scary and so big to contemplate that many people think they are too insignificant to effect change. We want to prove to them that they are wrong and every one of our actions can have a positive impact. When we work together our capacity to drive positive change is enormous.
Besides, it can be fun and rewarding.
Of course, taking action, even when we know it will be good for us or for the planet, is hard. That’s why we encourage families and cities to make the kind of small gestures they already do as part of their day-to-day routines.
Copernicus Masters competition 2022
This year, the Copernicus Masters featured seven Challenges presented by first-class industrial and institutional partners, along with 14 Copernicus Prizes organised by regional Prize Partners as part of a growing network of 55 European affiliates.
Over 620 participants from 47 countries participated in the 2022 competition and submitted 143 new Earth observation business cases and application ideas.
“The submissions demonstrated that the spirit of Copernicus innovation is about solving pressing environmental problems across the entire space value chain. Going forward, building top-tier computing and ground infrastructure for hosting Copernicus data is paramount for the expansion of the programme, and I am pleased that the Copernicus Masters contributed to this vision” explains Dr Josef Aschbacher, Director General of ESA.
Fostering space and business innovation
“We at AZO are more than pleased to add to the success by acting as an integral part of fostering space and business innovation with the annual Copernicus Masters competition. Since its beginnings in 2011, Copernicus Masters has not only benefitted successful winners but also added considerable value to Europe’s space economy. EO data play an essential role in providing businesses with the right tools and insights to take their enterprise to the next level” comments Thorsten Rudolph, CEO of AZO.
“The top 100 companies that came out of this global innovation competition have now created more than 3,500 jobs and generated EUR 189 million in total turnover in 2020. In recent years, these companies have also raised around EUR 848 million in venture capital. We are looking forward to seeing what great innovative solutions await us in the future!”
The Copernicus Masters’ close cooperation with institutional, industrial, and regional partners promotes the development of high-tech EO products and services for Europe on a global scale.
About the Copernicus Masters
AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen launched the Copernicus Masters in 2011 on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) and with the strong support of world-class partners. The Copernicus Masters is an international competition with the objective to drive Copernicus user uptake of Earth observation (EO) data and thus respective business cases. Since 2011 more than 2000 ideas from 143 countries have taken part. With partners such as the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), BayWa AG, Airbus & UP42, the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), and Portugal Space, the competition rewards innovative solutions for business and society. With the expansion of the Copernicus Space Component every year, new prize categories, like the Regional Prizes, enable solutions that tackle global challenges..