Leading environmental consultancy GeoSmart Information has been awarded £42,544 from the UK Space Agency to explore how satellite technology can help water resource management and disaster mitigation.
The Shrewsbury-based consultancy is one of 10 organisations to win up to £55,000 funding each to produce forecasts and models that can be used by sectors including agriculture, energy, finance and insurance.
It follows from its phase one project, which also won UK Space Agency funding earlier this year, that established the link between soil moisture and groundwater levels and demonstrated how observations from space can help to improve the accuracy of drought and flood forecasting.
Paul Drury, director of product development at GeoSmart, said: “This funding will help us to further leverage the benefits of using space-derived data to improve our existing products and to support in our innovation of new technologies that support water resource management.
“Water is a critical resource that is in high demand, and in the future pressures on our water supply will increase through growing populations and the impacts of climate change.
“It’s important that the wealth of data derived from satellites is used for the benefit of our environment and society. Our work has the potential to improve the services we offer to UK water companies and across other markets, such as the financial sector, that have traditionally faced operational challenges in deriving benefits from space data.
“Through our product development work supported by UK Space Agency and the Space4Climate community we aim to make the insights from this data far more readily accessible.”
Remotely sensed soil moisture data can provide significant advances in addressing water resource challenges and it can greatly improve the accuracy, resilience and coverage of flood and drought forecasting systems across the world.
Dr Paul Bate, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “The UK has a long history of expertise and innovation in Earth observation, developing satellites to collect increasingly detailed data and using that information to build services that help protect our planet.
“This targeted funding for early-stage innovations is all about supporting fresh ideas and accelerating the rollout of powerful new tools that have the potential to bring benefits to a wide range of users both within and beyond the space sector.” “The UK has a long history of expertise and innovation in Earth observation, developing satellites to collect increasingly detailed data and using that information to build services that help protect our planet.
George Freeman, Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said: “The great challenges of our time need bold solutions and from tackling water pollution to carbon emissions and biodiversity threats, the unique perspective that space provides can play a major role in securing the health of our planet and people.
“By backing UK innovators to make the most of modern technology including satellite data, AI, and Earth observation, we are also supporting businesses up and down our country to grow our economy while driving forward our ambition to make the UK a major player in space.”
The total £530,000 UK Space Agency funding represents the second tranche of investment by the UK Space Agency directly into climate services development. It follows an £85,000 pot awarded earlier this year, which was split between nine UK organisations, including some of these projects in their earlier stages of idea development, which used UK Space Agency funding to demonstrate the potential of their business ideas.
The applications will not only allow businesses, governments and others to understand and mitigate risks, but they will also help identify opportunities for green financing that could support sustainable business growth.