National Observatory of Athens wins international prize

National Observatory of Athens wins international prize

The Satellite Remote Sensing team of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) won the first prize for best satellite services in the international competition Copernicus Masters Awards 2014 in Berlin, organized by the European Commission, the European Space Agency, the German Aerospace Agency and partners from the European space Industry.

The NOA group, under the guidance of Dr. Charalampos Kontoes, research director of NOA, was awarded the prize for the best existing satellite service in space technology in the category Best Service Challenge 2014, among 177 projects presented by 44 countries around the world.

The project, called "FireHub: A Space Based Fire Management Hub" is an electronic platform which offers live satellite imagery of Greece and particularly of any problems on the ground. The image is updated every five minutes. These images are combined to offer high-quality information on any wildfire around the country. It also allows for a forecast on the movement of smoke over cities and its impact on people's health.

It also offers daily, weekly and seasonal estimations on the size and borders of burnt forests that need urgent reforestation, in order to avoid encroachment of burnt land.

The team is made up of Dr Kontoes, Themistoklis Chairekakis, Dr Ioannis Papoutsis, Dr Stavros Solomos and Dr Emmanuella Ieronymides.

The aforementioned satellite services are offered through the website of Centre of Excellence for Disaster Management

These services are already offered to state bodies who are involved in firefighting, like the Fire Brigade Operation Centre, the OTE Telecoms Disaster Monitoring Centre and the General Secretariat of Civil Protection.