UK Space Agency IPP – Inmarsat’s Satellite Technology to Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Fishing in Indonesia

The Indonesian fishing sector is a critical driver of the economy and society, supporting seven million fishers, and not only supports millions of households but is also part of a valuable global export business. However, environmentally unsustainable fishing, including illegal and unreported fishing, harms the entire value chain, as well as introducing safety and security challenges. Indonesian economic losses of up to US$20 billion a year are attributed to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Fishing boats in Indonesia

This Inmarsat project, supported by UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme, is expanding the use of Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS). VMS are systems used in commercial fishing to allow environmental and fisheries regulatory organisations to track and monitor the activities of fishing vessels. The project is designing additional services to be carried by VMS, and designing new operational protocols for policing and fisheries management, incentivising fishers to use VMS actively. Working with the Indonesian government to create the right processes to interpret and react to the data generated, will strengthen the surveillance capabilities of the Ministry, improve the policing of illegal fishing and of conservation areas, and move the industry onto a more sustainable and more profitable basis. Finally, it will provide valuable industry information on catches and sourcing.

UK Space Agency team visited Bali and Jakarta, Indonesia in August 2018. UKSA was invited to attend the four-day visit to Indonesia organised by Inmarsat. The visit presented an ideal opportunity to meet with all the project partners, to understand their contribution and interest in the project as part of the Mid Term Evaluation (MTE). UKSA’s role was to observe the MTE to see if it was conducted professionally and independently and to assess the degree to which the project is on track to achieve its outcomes and impacts towards project closure end June 2019.

Overall impression from the MTE was that the project looks very positive as some outcomes and potential impacts seem to be on the horizon with good stories of use of system in SAR (Search and Rescue) and adding value to all stakeholders. Processors and fishermen value the system and want to keep the system after the project ends – ensuring there is long term sustainability of the project’s benefits after the UKSA grant funding ends. VMS Regulation for <30GT vessels would be a key deciding factor for sustainability and seems to be welcome by many stakeholders. The equipment has proved to be highly effective in communicating critical and non-critical emergencies. The user fishers found it very useful while they are at sea to communicate with their family, fishing port, fellow fishers (including for more ice and spare parts). Even more so it is being used for emergency contact, safety/distress alerts and fishers welfare information. The pilot fleet of ~200 active <30 GT vessels are now transmitting VMS data on their position, speed and track for the first time in Indonesia.

More details on this project can be seen here:

Radiant Earth Foundation and their Open Platform

As of September 5, 2018, the Radiant Earth Foundation replaces Radiant.Earth, strengthening our non-profit identity, lessening any brand confusion that may exist, and removing that awkward “.” between Radiant and Earth.

With this small but important name change, the Radiant Earth Foundation looks forward to continuing its important work on behalf of the global development community, bridging commercial, government, academic and non-profit sectors for improved contributions and benefits.

Founded in 2016, Radiant Earth Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to aggregating the world’s open Earth imagery and providing access and education on its use to the global development community. Through its open platform, Radiant Earth Foundation allows people to search, discover, and analyze millions of ongoing collection of satellite, aerial and drone data on the cloud—instantly, securely and for free.

Users can access imagery from numerous cloud-integrated sources such as NASA/USGS Landsat 4,5,7 and 8 satellites; the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2A and 2B; the NASA MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) sensor on the Terra and Aqua satellites; NASA ISERV camera on board International Space Station; commercial imagery from Planet; and any satellite, airborne or drone imagery that a user provides via an easy user interface or a powerful application program interface (API). Users can also integrate non-imagery data, including air quality, population, and weather statistics using the API.

Radiant Earth Foundation is hosting a webinar on 26 September 2018 at 5:00 PM CEST: Learn how to Access and Analyze Earth Observation Imagery: An open platform for global development by Radiant Earth Foundation. The webinar will include a demonstration of the platform’s capabilities and a Q&A session.

Save the date: On Wed, Sep 26, 2018, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM CEST. Further details are here:

Partnerships for Pest Risk Reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa

The UK Space Agency visit Ghana to meet with the PRISE project team

An estimated 40% of the world’s crops are lost to pests[1], impacting on smallholder farmers’ ability to feed their families, on international trade and food supply chains, and hampering the pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2 (No Poverty and Zero Hunger).

The Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International’s (CABI) Pest Risk Information SErvice (PRISE) is a £6.3 million project supported by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP). PRISE is working to transform the lives of farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa by providing a novel pest prediction tool, which combines cutting-edge Earth Observation technology, satellite positioning, plant health modelling, and on-the-ground real-time observations to deliver a science-based service. The first ‘Baseline’ version of the system is already live in Kenya, Zambia and Ghana, and the service is expected to expand into another 2-3 Sub-Saharan African countries by 2021.

Strong working partnerships and the sharing of expertise are key to the delivery of this innovative project. CABI is collaborating with Assimila Ltd, Kings College London, and the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis in the UK and government agencies in Kenya, Ghana and Zambia[2] to realise the project’s ambitious aims.

In July 2018 the UK Space Agency team visited Ghana to meet with the PRISE partners and experience first-hand the excellent work being undertaken to develop the system.

The packed 4-day schedule included 2 days of stakeholder workshops, during which project partners and stakeholders came together to share feedback on the first release of the PRISE system. The workshops enabled valuable discussions on how the system will evolve over the next few years to provide pest alerts for further crops and pests and reach more people and user groups.

Stakeholder workshop participants

During the visit, the High Commission hosted a well-attended publicity launch to celebrate the release of PRISE Baseline, with speeches from the British High Commissioner to Ghana and the Director of Ghana’s Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate highlighting the unanimous in-country support for the project.

Plant doctors providing information to smallholder farmers through a mobile plant clinic session 

The final day of the trip provided the opportunity for the UK Space Agency to meet with small-holder farmers and agricultural extension workers (known as ‘plant doctors’) at a Plantwise Plant Health Clinic in the village of Duayaden. The clinics consist of group presentations and one-on-one ‘consultations’ in which farmers can discuss their issues related to crop pests and diseases and other challenges. The sessions enable plant doctors to share their expertise – supported by Plantwise Knowledge Bank and PRISE predictions – with farmers to help them to prevent crop losses through effective pest risk management strategies.

Watch a short video about PRISE here.

You can read more about PRISE and other International Partnership Programme Projects in our new brochure.

A new report written by Caribou Space, ‘Space for Agriculture in Developing Countries’, provides an introduction to why and how space solutions can help to tackle agriculture challenges in developing countries.

[1] Food and Agriculture Organization, 2015

[2] CABI’s in-country partners are Plant Protection & Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD, Ghana), Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MOALF) and Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI)

Space for Agriculture in Developing Countries

Different decades have brought excitement about the potential for new technologies such as mobile phones to help to transform agriculture in developing countries. The use of space technology in agriculture is not a new phenomenon but in developing countries, the advances and impacts of ‘space for agriculture’ projects are not very well known. Space technology and the use of satellite earth observation data has great potential to benefit agriculture globally, especially in developing countries.

A new report written by Caribou Space, ‘Space for Agriculture in Developing Countries’, provides an introduction to why and how space solutions can help to tackle issues such as low agricultural production, increasing demand for food and resources, extreme weather patterns and pest outbreaks caused by climate change and unsustainable use of natural resources in developing countries.

The report provides an overview of existing space for agriculture solutions and the different business models. Once the opportunity is outlined, the report also provides detailed next steps on how to go about developing or integrating a space for agriculture solution. The report is intended for different audiences with the primary audience being the development and agriculture sectors.

See: Space for Agriculture in Developing Countries. 

International Partnership Programme

The International Partnership Programme (IPP) is a five year, £152 million programme run by the UK Space Agency. IPP focuses strongly on using the UK space sector’s research and innovation strengths to deliver a sustainable economic or societal benefit to emerging and developing economies around the world.

IPP is part of and is funded from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF): a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government, which supports cutting-edge research and innovation on global issues affecting developing countries.

The projects within IPP span a variety of themes, including reducing deforestation, disaster response, land-use monitoring, reducing maritime problems and renewable energy.

33 projects have been commissioned to date run by a large variety of organisations across industry, academia and non-profit entities. UK and international organisations are involved in the project consortiums.

Further information is available in the IPP ‘Brochure’.

—Ray Fielding, IPP Programme Director