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National space data lab to develop AI solutions for the good of the planet

Thursday, June 20, 2019

A new project is starting up within AI Innovation of Sweden, National Space Data Lab, in cooperation with the Swedish National Space Agency, Rise and Luleå University of Technology. The objective of the data lab is to increase the use of data from space for the development of society and industry and for the good of the planet.

Access to satellite data is complex and demands resources
Space data is now used in a wide range of fields. It is indispensable for weather forecasts and monitoring the climate, among other things, but it is also extremely important for forestry, agriculture and other fields in which up-to-date information about vegetation and the land surface is needed.

Providing space data entails more than launching satellites. It takes major investments in ground stations with antennas and in servers, storage and networks that manage data from the satellites. The EU Copernicus programme alone generates 20 PB of data per year. The large quantities of data mean that merely providing data for download is not enough. An infrastructure for data exploitation with high performance near the data storage must also be available.

With the space data lab, the aim is to create a national infrastructure for exploitation of space data in order to increase the possibilities of developing smart and effective AI solutions for everything from storage of space data to how you can manage constellations of satellites in orbit.

The users of the data lab will be primarily public authorities with responsibility for civil, environmental and natural resources, but will also be able to include everything from large forestry companies to individual farmers and private persons.

'With a national resource for analysis and calculations, more organisations will be able to utilise the benefits of the space data and limitations for use will be lowered, which will increase competitiveness, more efficient management and better decisions,' explains Tobias Edman, Head of Innovation and Public Benefit at the Swedish National Space Agency.

Space data and AI together create new opportunities
'A use has been developed within forestry for monitoring of felling and clearing requirements, within conservation for vegetation classification and within agriculture for management of how much fertiliser should be used and where. There is a great need to be able to monitor fires, floods and drought within climate adaptation and crisis management,' continues Tobias Edman.

'By linking with AI, the space data lab enables development of current services so that they become better and more efficient and also enable new applications.'

AI Innovation of Sweden has the role as coordinator within the project and is responsible for sharing results, organising workshops with needs owners and finding new user groups for the data lab.

The National Space Data Lab project is partially financed by Vinnova and coordinated by AI Innovation of Sweden in cooperation with the Swedish National Space Agency, Rise and Luleå University of Technology