Date archives "July 2019"

International Partnership Programme at UK Space Conference

The IPP team would like to highlight the upcoming UK Space Conference being held from the 24th to 26th September at the ICC in Wales.

The UK Space Conference is well established as the most important and influential event for space in the UK. For the fifth time, this biennial event will bring together the UK and international space community from across government, industry and academia to exchange ideas, share plans, develop relationships and seek inspiration to thrive in the new space age. 

The conference will again provide unrivalled networking opportunities and build on the success of Manchester 2017 where 1,200 representatives and over 100 exhibitors took part. 

In addition to opportunities throughout to engage with organisations involved in IPP projects, two sessions dedicated to international development are scheduled: a ‘Space 101’ on IPP on Tuesday 24 September (0900-0930) and a parallel session on ‘How space is enabling international development’ on Thursday 26 September (1350-1430). 

See the programme here: https://www.ukspace2019.co.uk/ehome/200183909/whats-on/.

The conference will be well represented by individuals and organisations involved with the International Partnership Programme. We hope to showcase the successes of our programme and highlight the potential which space technology can offer to the development sector.

We look forward to seeing many of you there.

D-MOSS – Dengue MOdel forecasting Satellite-based System

D-MOSS is a dengue fever early warning system for Vietnam being developed by a consortium led by HR Wallingford and sponsored by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme. It will give beneficiaries several months advance warning of likely outbreaks of dengue fever. The system will also include a water assessment module that will provide the additional benefit of improving water management in Vietnam’s transboundary river basins.

D-MOSS will be the first fully integrated dengue fever forecasting system incorporating Earth Observation (EO) data and seasonal climate forecasts to issue dengue warnings on a routine basis.

The challenge : Before 1970 only nine countries had experienced severe dengue epidemics. Today the disease is endemic in 141 countries, affecting 390 million people and with a global annual cost estimated at almost US$9 billion. Since 2000, there has been an increase of over 100% in the number of cases of dengue fever in Vietnam, and there is currently no system for forecasting future dengue outbreaks.

Our objective: Our objective is to develop a suite of innovative tools that will allow beneficiaries to: issue alerts for dengue and provide assessments of vector-borne disease risk under future climate and land‑use change scenarios. This will allow local communities to mobilise to eliminate mosquito-breeding sites thus reducing incidents of dengue. In combination with better outbreak response, we expect the project to contribute towards a reduction in dengue incidence over the project lifetime.

Our approach: The D-MOSS project is developing a forecasting system in which Earth Observation datasets are combined with weather forecasts and a hydrological model to predict the likelihood of future dengue epidemics up to eight months in advance. The D-MOSS system relies on open and non-proprietary software, where possible, and on a component-based flexible deployment into a set of platforms including cloud-based virtual storage. The D-MOSS project started in February 2018 and will end in February 2021. At the end of June 2019 we will be delivering D-MOSS version 1.0 to the Vietnamese stakeholders.

Project consortium : D-MOSS is funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme and led by HR Wallingford, working with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the UK Met Office and Oxford Policy Management in the UK, and with the following international partners: the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organisation, the Vietnamese Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change, the Pasteur Institute Ho Chi Minh City, and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Vietnam.

For a more detailed description of the project see here: https://eprints.hrwallingford.com/1395/1/TP-059_D-MOSS-EGU-2019-R1.pdf

Speaking at the D-MOSS launch event that took place in Hanoi on the 19th March 2019, Mr Kamal Malhotra, United Nations Resident Coordinator said “Given the significant correlation between weather factors and dengue incidence, a combination of water availability forecasting and dengue outbreak prediction enabled by satellite technology is a great innovation. The project we are launching today is exciting in that it leverages global and local expertise from across disciplines and continents to harness data and experience to create early-warning systems and analytic tools that can help Viet Nam’s health systems roll-back dengue’s impacts both today and in the future.

The UK is an innovation powerhouse. Space technology is one of our strongest sectors and I am very pleased to see the UK Space Agency and partners introduce a novel and innovative tool to help Viet Nam to predict and respond to dengue outbreaks more confidently and efficiently. This project is evidence of the strong and continued commitment of the UK to support Viet Nam to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals”, highlighted by Mr Gareth Ward, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

Darren Lumbroso, D-MOSS Project Director from HR Wallingford, said: “We are delighted to be leading this ground-breaking project where, for the first time, an Earth Observation-based forecasting system will allow decision makers to identify areas of high risk for disease epidemics before an outbreak occurs, in order to target resources so as to reduce an epidemic spreading and to increase disease control“.

Attending the launching workshop, Ms H ‘Yim Kdoh, Vice Chairman of Dak Lak Provincial People’s Committee said, “The development of an early warning system for dengue will help the province to plan and prepare resources to be ready for better respond to the disease. This is also the expectation of the health sector, the Steering Committee for Disease Prevention and the Provincial People’s Committee“.

D-Moss Consortium Meeting in Vietnam

Monitoring Tailing Dams at Mines using Earth Observation

Members of the International Partnership Programme travelled to Peru recently to visit one of their IPP projects which is looking at how satellite technology can be used to monitor Tailings Dams in the highlands of Peru.

But what are tailings dams?

Tailings are the residual material leftover from the mining process and are often toxic and a major pollution threat. This material is stored behind a tailings damuntil the mining process is over and the land can be terraformed. The problem is that these dams are often unstable and prone to leaking pollutants and potential collapse. This risk was realised in the January 2019 when a tailings dam in Brazil collapsed leading to the tragic death of nearly 250 people.


Liz Cox (Head of International in IPP) at the project site where the ground sensors shown will detect potential movement in the dam

The UK Space Agency was in Peru to visit the DAMSAT project led by HR Wallingford. This project is using satellite radar and optical data with ground Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) sensors to monitor movements in these dams. Their intention is to create a tool which will give advance warning to the authorities, allowing them to take pre-emptive action when required. Further details can be seen on this video recently produced by HR Wallingford.

A key objective of this visit was to meet with all the project partners and the key stakeholders in Peru. The IPP team were also involved with a press conference in the Cajamarca region of Peru were the work is working. Mining is a significant part of the economy in Cajamarca and the IPP team were glad to see enthusiasm and engagement from our in-country partners. There is clearly a need for the project’s objectives and potential for positive impacts.

The project has issued a first release of its system which is being reviews by the project partners and stakeholders. By the end of the project in March of 2021 they intend on having be a fully operational system, able to monitor industrial tailings dams remotely and alert the relevant authorities to heighted risk and the areas of potential impact.

This project is one of three projects in Peru, with IPP having a total of 33 projects working in 37 countries, working on a range of issues. See our website for more details on these projects around the world.

Earth and Sea Observation System (EASOS)

At the outset of the EASOS project, the Satellite Applications Catapult, with a consortium of companies from both the UK and Malaysia, set out to provide an informed and coordinated decision-making capability to the Malaysian Government.  The information that EASOS would provide covered three focus areas:

  1. the reduction of degradation to the mangrove coastline by reducing marine pollution in the Malacca Straits,
  2. the reduction of the impact of illegal logging,
  3. and the reduction of the economic and social cost of flood events.

As the project closes, EASOS has developed a highly automated, replicable system that works across these three domains and can be scaled across multiple countries. The Marine Watch, Forest Watch and Flood Watch domains are tested, live and being used to support government decision making in these three vital areas.

It has already enjoyed success in many real-life situations including earlier this year, when EASOS Marine Watch automatically detected two separate oil slicks off the coast of Malaysia’s Johor district.  The detections helped to speed up the clean-up response of the marine authorities, and whilst work continues to estimate the likely financial and environmental benefit from just one of these averted environmental disasters, early estimates based on impact to fisheries, tourism, the marine ecosystem and clean-up along 13km of coastline could have exceeded RM 8m/£1.5m.

Oil Slick Detection in EASOS Marine Watch

EASOS Flood Watch also provided support to operational management of flooding events during the 2017-18 monsoon season, and EASOS services have been delivered daily by the Satellite Applications Catapult directly to the Malaysian authorities and have aided decisions to evacuate people from their homes on four separate occasions as a result of accurate alerts generated by EASOS.

EASOS has also significantly impacted UK organisations, enabling them to develop new products and services, and is set to grow the economy further due to investments made by the Catapult in exploring increasing geographic scope outside of the initial areas of interest in Malaysia, opening up EASOS to other new potential suppliers and providing an access to new international distributors.

For more information on the ongoing work of the EASOS project, visit www.easos.org.uk