ESA Program to Help with COVID-19. How can Earth Observation Data Help?

The European Space Agency has launched a program that is helping to find ways in which Earth Observation data can be used to help with the pandemic. It has brought together data scientists, machine learning experts, satellite enthusiasts, and common people building on ideas that can help at scale. Read More:

ESA Program to Help with COVID-19. How can Earth Observation Data Help?
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ESA Program to Help with COVID-19. How can Earth Observation Data Help?

As we battle a global pandemic that affects the economy, society, industry, and culture- we’re left with very little choice but to contribute at individual levels to help the world. Coronavirus, scientifically called the COVID-19, has changed the way we live and has disrupted what we have known as society.

The European Space Agency has launched a program that is helping to find ways in which Earth Observation data can be used to help with the pandemic. It has brought together data scientists, machine learning experts, satellite enthusiasts, and common people building on ideas that can help at scale.

Satellite data is crucial for the analysis and study of the pandemic in many domains such as commerce, industry, healthcare, and more. Satellite images and pattern research can help identify problems or problem zones, which in turn can help agencies and decision-makers with tackling issues.

The two new initiatives launched by ESA to help understand the problem better may prove to be of great help as people come together to solve big threats that Coronavirus poses to the environment, society, and business. 
“COVID-19 is putting society under huge strain. While ESA isn’t placed to help forecast the progression of the virus, we certainly continue to have a wealth of data streaming back to us from some of the most sophisticated satellites ever built as well as new artificial intelligence technologies that can be used to understand and monitor some of the societal shifts, says Josef Aschbacher, Director of Earth Observation Programmes, ESA, in a press release by ESA.

The first program launched is about characterizing the impact of COVID-19 on society, industry, and business. It simply asks for ideas where Earth Observation data can be used to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on society. The Agency is looking for innovative solutions that can help rapidly analyze problems and progression of the virus. They have listed this initiative under their Permanently Open Call section.

ESA has also opened up its second edition of the Custom Script Contest. This event calls for solutions from the public to help solve the problem that Coronavirus brings to public sectors like agriculture, industry, and transport. The Agency is looking for ideas in all spheres of industry where EO data can be used to help reduce the burden on resources or even come up with solutions to curb the spread.

The weekly competition has winners receiving cash prizes, and the final winner at the end shall receive an overall cash prize for the best idea. All participants need to do is compose a slideshow presentation with information as to how Earth Observation data can help with the pandemic in different ways. The Agency has found a creative way to have people help during these trying times, and engage people in something resourceful as they stay home.