Space notes from Bee

30 September 2006

Here are some notes from the presentations that were made at the XVI United Nations and International Astronautical Federation Workshop on the Use of Space Technology for Water Resources Management.

I was representing Space Generation Advisory Council in support of the United Nations Programme on Space Application (SGAC). My visit to attend this intense and rewarding workshop would not have been possible without the help and support of:
Thank you very much!

You may also want to check out what happened at the Space Generation Congress 2006 in Valencia via the website or the blog!

This report of the workshop is the sole responsibility of the rapporteur, and while it reflects the broad array of issues discussed, does not necessarily represent consensus on all points.

29 September 2006

XVI UN/IAF Workshop - Use of Space Technology for Water Management

Keynote address by Prof Rao (India): stressed the need for effect water management in the context of making irrigation practices more advanced. Developing countries in the south east asia, including India represent 20% of the world's irrigated land, and preserving the quality of land nutrients, ground water levels can be aided significantly with use of Indian RS satellites. Precision agriculture technique can help analyse farm sizes, in developing countries as well as developed countries, such as the US where farms may be of equivalent to satellite pixel size and would have track changes in quality of crop and soil over the years.

Space technology is essential for food security issues.

Keynote address by of Prof Tomas (Spain): A great overview of involvement of Valencia university groups and imaging processing at different campuses in space image processing, RS and other Spanish Space activities. He also gave a brief overview of the history of University of Valencia and how the building and surroundings that it provided were tuned through the years in the issues regarding water resources managment using space technology.

Both speakers also introduced the resolution that was formulated, discussed and approved by 80 participants at the International Conference on Earth Observation for Vegetation Monitoring and Water Management held in Naples, Italy on 10-11 November 2005. (Click here for document)

'On-line' space assisted irrigation water management: Alfredo Calera (Spain)

An overview of an operational system which applies EO to assist irrigation to farmers and other end users. This system helpes to get a crop water requirement amount which is used for effecient water quantity. Accurate information from water resources, weather and climate/rainfall forecast helps predict when and where there would be a fluctuation in amoung of irrigation water.

Farmers receives numerical and graphical data via handheld applications that can even be integrated into mobile phone and via the web. Multisensor and intercalibration RS help achieve adequate spatial resolution, frequency coverage and product delivery time.

Farmers can receive customized reports, evolution of the crop, etc. more information of the format and reports that farmers are given, one can check

!! - Correction: the above weblink is correct now, Thanks Benoit! !!

Methodology for Rainwater Harvesting developed by Prince Sultan Research Centre for Environment, Water and Desert (Mr Al-Shiekh, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia)

An overview of new projects in Rainwaer harvesting and storage in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Rainwater is sparce and rain is irratic, especially in arid lands such at the ones that are found in the middle east. Design and visualizations have helped to find adequate locations and sites that are marked to be developed into larger rainwater harvesting zones.

Earth Observation for Sustainable Livelihood in Rain-fed Ecosystem: Indian Experience (V Jayaraman, India)

The presentation tried to capture the socio-economic and agro-ecological factors that affect the vicous circle of poverty bringing poverty. Inherited exclusion and inherited Vulnerability are links; replicability and sustainability of these interventions, affect their absorption and community ownership. The Indian Remote sensing agency has been helping solve the issue through a spatial, sectoral and regional approach – specific, local, adequate and timely knowledge (data) holds the key.

An overview of watershed management over the decades – biophysical framework; soil and water conservation; leading to agricultural productivity, NR and socio-economic and povery dimensions

Soil and water conservation, land use planning, ridge to valley treatment and focus on wasterlands/village commons. Techno-convergence: dev. Communications, RS/GIS, Info technology, biotechnology. Natural resources management systems – Resourcesat, cartosat, oceansat. Indian EO Strategy: National watershed development programme. National pilot study translated into national strategy. Reclamation of wasteland for green growth – for better livelihood so that poverty can be irridicated. Intergrated mission for sustainable development (IMSD). Participatory Watershed development has been a great success in Karnataka.

Inclusion of weather info, pest and disease incidence, agri insurance, fertilizer requirement helps reduce risk. Now focused on taluka levels, hot stressed spots in India for a village resource centre that can be have tele-education, telemedicine, etc.

Alice Lee, Secretary, UN OOSA urged not to just learn from presentations, from each other. Several people in local countries, very motivated via volunteer involvement, do not rely on the UN for money but make it a line item in the national badgets.

Droughts are not a water/natural disaster, but a management problem

Sharing the experience in space program- having countries share the data and experience of RS and other space applications.

ESA and NASA datat is available as a free imagery and UN has a data sharing project.

Africa is of great concern. Best thing to do is share experience and data via internet. Next conference in tele-health conference in cape town. (Click here for conference website)

RapidEye - Global change detection for better water management - Ms Goh, Germany

Services to the Agricultural insurance industry:-includes the crop health damage insurance. RapidEye is the world's first commercial Earth observation constellation and can offer customized services for a particular need. X band antennae, 5 bands multi spectral. Offer a high benefit for the cost – good pricing.

Insurance operation centre request goes to the rapideye operation centre and to the rapid, can be got on the handheld device. Cost benefit analysis favours use of satellite based geo information service. Assessment for acreage measurement

Proactive daily coverage, information solutions for adjustment process, programme compliance, crop identification, auditing and damming assessment

People who are excited by new technology generally do the technology and do not do think of the applications. Partnering with an insurance company means that there are better prospects for financing.

Day 2
Overview of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water
(Mr Al-Shiekh, Saudi Arabia)

A prize has been announced by the Royal Highness Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz in 2002 to address the global water issues which represent one of the most pressing human, economic and political concerns worldwide.

The prize shall reward innovative scholars and scientists as well as applied organizations in the realm of water resources worldwide. 2.5 million Saudi Riyals is the total prize purse. Water is a vital factor for life, it is in essence free from any considerations of region, race, religion, etc.

1 million Saudi Riyals (~$266,000) allocated to Creativity and half million Saudi Riyals (~$133,000) to other four branches.

  • Surface water branch,
  • non traditional branch,
  • ground water branch,
  • conservation and
  • protection branch.

The activities hence covered within the range of different prize branches have a great potential for a success story and remarkable respect. Prize has sponsored more than 25 different conferences since its inception. Based on decisions of integrity, accredited research, International selection committee of 15 people has been nominated.

Nominations received so far for 2005-2006 = 60 topics for the third award will be announced in October 2006, FY2006 Q3.

Ambassador Arevalo presented a proposal for A Space Conference of the Americas: a regional framework to enhance the use of space technology for water management. The conference would address important issues relating to data sharing policies between North and South Americas and present its views to the policy makers and the UN OOSA.

Cynthia Jimenez (Mexico) presented a proposal for a micro satellite constellation formed in cooperation with latin american countries to improve water management activities.

Bee (India) presented an overview of international initiatives in competition (X PRIZE for social enterpreneurship solutions to clean water) and inter-institutional cooperation which is easier to work with and woudl allow to set the precedence in data sharing cooperation between regions and countries. Also, youth initiatives can be handled and managed by organizations such as Space Generation Advisory Council, the worlds largest space youth network. I shall post my presentation along with some notes via FlickR. Watch this space.