Tag: Partners

Strong APOLLO presence at major events

The APOLLO team is working closely with pilot farmers to provide services that will help farmers do more in their everyday farming tasks in fewer steps. Farmers are at the forefront of APOLLO’s development efforts, which aim to efficiently bring them the benefits of space technologies. Since the start of the project, experts from the APOLLO team have participated in many international and national events in order to exchange experiences with farming professionals across Europe, remain at the forefront of technological advancements and inform the agricultural community about the APOLLO concept.

2017 was a big year for APOLLO in terms of outreach. The consortium participated in 12 events in the first six months, and APOLLO has continued to show a strong presence at national and international events in Europe and even in the US, presenting APOLLO’s services and technical advancements.
APOLLO was presented in total in 20 major conferences and workshops, concluding a very productive two years of activities and paving the way for what is ahead. These events were a great opportunity for APOLLO’s representatives to have fruitful exchanges with professionals from the agricultural sector and gain useful insights in regard to current needs, practices and trends on the agricultural landscape around Europe and beyond.
Some of the major events in which APOLLO was represented during the second year of the project include:

11th European Conference on Precision Agriculture (ECPA 2017), 16-20 July, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
ECPA is a renowned conference in precision agriculture which attracts a global audience. Connecting with the theme of last years’ conference (“Innovating through Research”), the advancements of APOLLO in precision agriculture were presented. APOLLO partner AgriSat was a bronze sponsor and had strong presence at the event, while partners from the Agricultural University of Athens presented their scientific publication, “User requirements for a satellite-based advisory platform”.

InfoAg2017, 25-27 July 2017, St. Louis, Missouri, United States
APOLLO was present at one of the best-attended agricultural conferences in the world. InfoAg focuses on the practical applications of precision agriculture, and, representing the project, AgriSat took the opportunity to network with crop consultants and agribusinesses from around the world.

4th Satellite Soil Moisture Validation and Application Workshop” and the “CCI Soil Moisture User Workshop”, 18-20 September, Vienna, Austria
Consortium partner the Technological University of Vienna successfully organised a joint event combining the “4th Satellite Soil Moisture Validation and Application Workshop” and the “CCI Soil Moisture User Workshop”, in Vienna, 18-20 September. The event attracted 110 guests from 21 countries and centred on the latest advancements in satellite soil moisture validation.

BioFest 2017: International festival of organic products, 11-13 October 2017, Subotica, Serbia
BioFest was a great opportunity for APOLLO representatives in our pilot country Serbia to present APOLLO services to organic farmers from Serbia and other countries.

Tallinn Space Week 2017, 3-9 November, Tallinn, Estonia
The APOLLO consortium had the great honour to be invited to present the project as a Horzon 2020 example of best practice at the Tallinn Space Week, held under the auspices of the 2017 Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union Team. Our Senior Scientific Expert, Dr Stelios Kotsopoulos, presented the project, highlighting how it aims to bring the benefits of space technology to small and large farms in order to help them improve their agricultural and financial resources.

Copernicus for Agriculture, Industry Workshop, 5 February 2018, Brussels, Belgium
APOLLO was selected among as one of the three most important Horizon 2020 land downstream projects and was presented by the Research Executive Agency during the Copernicus for Agriculture workshop. This high-level event aimed to address the possible role of the private (downstream) sector for solutions in support of the agricultural end-users at international, European and Member State level.

What’s next for APOLLO?
Almost halfway through 2018, and the year is already shaping up to be full of challenges. The APOLLO team continues to work closely with farmers to develop the best possible solutions to everyday farming challenges. In autumn, our pilot farmers are expected to provide initial results from this year’s ending first growing season.
We will be pleased to meet you in one of the next events the APOLLO team intends to participate in and discuss about your needs and how APOLLO can help. So, you can stay tuned and follow us on our social media to learn where we will be present and what our next event will be.

The Vienna University of Technology is organising the 4th Satellite Soil Moisture Validation and Application Workshop

APOLLO consortium partner the Vienna University of Technology (TU-WEIN) is organising the 4th Satellite Soil Moisture Validation and Application Workshop and the CCI Soil Moisture User Workshop in Wien, Austria. The workshops will be held between the 18th and the 20th of September 2017.

Satellite Soil Moisture and Application Workshop
The Satellite Soil Moisture and Application Workshop brings together experts from all around the world to discuss and reconcile recent methodological advances in the development, validation and application of global satellite soil moisture data.
The workshop follows up workshops held at the European Space Agency in Frascati (Italy, in 2013), at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam (Netherlands, in 2014) and at the Millenium Broadway Hotel in New York (USA, in 2016).
The workshop series is unique by bringing together satellite soil moisture users and developers to focus on both the derivation and exploration of soil moisture data from passive or active microwave satellite missions (SMAP, SMOS, ASCAT, AMRS-2, Sentinel-1, and other legacy missions).

CCI Soil Moisture User Workshop
The CCI Soil Moisture User Workshop is similar in scope, but focuses on users of the CCI Soil Moisture products. Users from any relevant application area are invited to present their experiences with the data and provide ideas for future product improvements. The CCI Soil Moisture User Workshop is an event organized within the framework of ESA’s Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Soil Moisture project.

For more information, registration deadlines, costs and other details about the workshops, please visit the 4th Satellite Soil Moisture Validation and Application Workshop and the CCI Soil Moisture User Workshop site.

18th September 2017: CCI Soil Moisture User Workshop
19th-20th September 2017: Satellite Soil Moisture Validation and Application Workshop
Vienna University of Technology
Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

TU-WEIN’s Role in the APOLLO project
TU’s Remote Sensing (RS) research group of the Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation (GEO), led by Dr Wolfgang Wagner, is leading the activities for the validation of Earth Observation and operational pilot data activities.
Learn more about TU-WEIN here.

With farmers, for farmers: the APOLLO co-creation process

APOLLO services aim to help primarily small-holder farmers in Europe and beyond to achieve more sustainable farming practices, fewer losses and potentially increased agricultural yields. Placing benefits for farmers at the forefront, a co-creation approach is being implemented to guide the APOLLO services’ development, through which end users will have the opportunity to contribute to the creation of the services and their validation. Developing affordable, accessible and efficient agricultural services is about understanding traditional farming methods and how new technologies can support, enrich and enhance them.

We care about your experience

Yield increases, lower costs and sustainable farming practices are the ultimate goals of the APOLLO services. But no two farms are exactly alike; there is a great of diversity in farm specificities, local ecosystems and the farming methods used. This is true of different regions and countries and even between local farms within the same geographical area. Understanding the farmer’s real challenges and needs across the agricultural season, for various crops and in a range of environmental conditions is therefore essential in the service development process. The valuable knowledge which farmers have about their land, water, crops and other local resources can be used to develop better, more tailored services.

Working closely together with farmers will guarantee improved user experiences. It will enable the development of solutions that can be easily incorporated into traditional practices, improving sustainable farming and potentially lead to more profitable yields.

With farmers, for farmers

It was early in the lifetime of the APOLLO project that end users were invited to contribute to the development of service concepts. Farmers from the pilot areas have expressed their requirements through APOLLO’s online survey and through surveys conducted in the field by local project partners. The farmers’ feedback was collected and assessed by APOLLO experts, and formed the basis for the development of the APOLLO platform. Once the initial APOLLO services are available, they will be tested and validated during the agricultural seasons in 2017 and 2018, in three countries of continental Europe: Greece, Serbia and Spain.

We invite you to join us

In 2017, the APOLLO co-creation process will be launched through three collaborative workshops to be held in each pilot area, to be held before and during the agricultural season (March-September 2017). The meetings will bring together local farmers, agricultural consultants, WUA* technicians and APOLLO developers. Participants will be invited to contribute, evaluate, and refine ideas and concepts related to the APOLLO services. Together, developers and farmers will discuss current practices, evaluate the preliminary APOLLO service designs and generate solutions together, taking into account their different approaches, needs, and points of view.

After each meeting a follow-up session will be held in order to discuss emerging issues and the progress of the APOLLO pilots. These meetings will be used to assess and identify the practices and the challenges farmers deal with in their daily farm management routine, as well as the benefits that the APOLLO services are bringing to these activities. Based on the current best farming practices registered and the users’ feedback on the use of APOLLO services, APOLLO developers will be able to constantly improve and tailor the different services, to maximise the overall user experience.

If you are interested to learn more about the APOLLO co-creation meetings and how you can benefit by participating, please feel free to contact us.

Special thanks to our co-creation coordinator Dr. Anna Ossan (AgriSat) for her contribution to this article
Image credits: Vicente Bodas

*WUA: Water User Associations

What to expect from APOLLO in 2017?

2017 will be a milestone year for the APOLLO project, since it will be the first time that APOLLO services are tested and validated on operational farms and fields. The APOLLO project has covered a lot of ground in the short nine months since it began, and as the new year dawns, we thought it would be a good moment to reflect on what has been achieved so far, and look ahead to what you can expect for 2017.

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The increasing potential of data-driven precision agriculture: Validating the demand for APOLLO services

At two major conferences this summer – the Geospatial World Forum and European Space Solutions 2016 – the increasing potential of new applications in the precision agriculture field was repeatedly emphasised. The APOLLO project was represented at both of these events, establishing links with a number of key stakeholders and initiatives and raising the profile of the project within the broader geospatial community. The outcomes underscore the existence of strong demand for services such as those which the APOLLO project is building.

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