Afgrøder med farvekoder - gul er korn, rød kartofler og orange grøntsager - optaget over Holland i foråret 2019 med Copernicus Sentinel-satellitter og efterfølgende bearbejdet. (Billede:  EU/Copernicus Sentinel data/GeoVille).

Satellites helping to locate diseases in cereal fields

Monday 18 Nov 19


Sune Nordentoft Lauritsen
Managing Director, European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre Denmark
DTU Space
+45 45 25 97 21
Students at DTU have won the final of the Copernicus Hackathon Denmark 2019 with a concept for the early detection of disease outbreaks in fields using satellite data.

Early detection of disease outbreaks in cereal fields. Optimizing seaweed production in aquaculture. Rapid flood mapping. All done using data from Copernicus—the European Earth Observation Programme.

These were the three award-winning projects at the finals of the Copernicus Hackathon Denmark 2019, which was held recently in DTU Skylab as part of the ‘Open Innovation X’ programme, which was co-organized by DTU Space.

The first prize went to a team called Team #11, made up of DTU students Julian Hoch Bruun from Denmark, Blanca Robledo Díaz from Spain, and Adithya Iyer from India.

Plant diseases in crops cost billions

They call their project Budnip, and it’s all about ensuring the early detection of disease outbreaks in cereal fields.

And it is an important project, because the plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa and other plant diseases cost farmers all over the world billions of kroner in lost crops every year.

“The challenge for the teams was to develop a way in which they could use data from the Copernicus satellites to create commercial value, while at the same time supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. And the winning group rose to the challenge extremely well,” says Sune Nordentoft Lauritsen, Head of European Space Agency Business IncubationCentre Denmark, who was involved in organizing the event.

An intense weekend of work preceded the finals last week. Here, the participating teams developed ideas for Copernicus applications, tested technological possibilities with concrete satellite data, and outlined business models which can kick-start new enterprises.

DKK 50,000 and help with commercialization

In the final, the teams competed for DKK 50,000 in prize money and two places on the 12-month European Copernicus Accelerator Programme, which supports the commercial development of projects.

The winning team received DKK 35,000 to further develop their project, and can look forward to a trip to the Copernicus Accelerator bootcamp in Helsinki on 3 December in connection with European Space Week.

Some of the projects may prove to hold enough potential to become part of the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre (ESA BIC), which is being established in Denmark in 2020 and based at DTU. Here, promising Danish start-ups using space-based technology can apply for funding to develop their ideas.

Read about all the projects in Open Innovation X, which, in addition to the Copernicus Hackathon, included a track about the TAPAS Hyper-Precision Hackathon that DTU Space is also involved in, as well as a Nordic Health Hackathon.

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