Big data from space to be used in ITU classrooms

A new collaboration between the IT University of Copenhagen and the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education gives students and researchers the chance to work with data collected by the EU’s earth observation program, Copernicus.

Computer Science DepartmentEducationCollaborationsbig dataPhilippe Bonnet

Each Copernicus satellite produces 1.5 petabytes of raw data annually, holding an enormous potential for increasing the understanding of our planet. Since dissecting the data takes skills within software development and data analysis, ITU and the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education have formed a new collaboration.

This entails that ITU students in software development and data science will have the opportunity to work with satellite data in their classes, says Philippe Bonnet, Professor in the Department of Computer Science.

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The students will develop infrastructure that makes it easy to work with these large amounts of data and work on finding new ways to make satellite data interact with their applications.

Philippe Bonnet, Professor at ITU
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"The Copernicus program provides a large amount of satellite data in a way that allows IT people to integrate them into their applications. Satellite data gives us new opportunities to create improvements within domains like sustainable energy, agriculture and transportation. The students will develop infrastructure that makes it easy to work with these large amounts of data and work on finding new ways to make satellite data interact with their applications," says Philippe Bonnet, professor at the Department of Computer Science at ITU.

Space hackathon planned

ITU's PitLab, where students and researchers develop Internet of Things (IoT) projects, will also work on combining satellite data from space with data from local sensors.

In addition, a hackathon with satellite data is being planned together with the European Space Agency, ESA. The hackathon will take place in 2018 and will be open to students from all Danish universities.

The Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education will draw on experiences from the collaboration with ITU to spread the use of satellite data to other higher education programs.

"The collaboration with ITU means that future computer scientists will learn about the unlimited possibilities for using high-quality data from space. The collaboration is closely tied to the objectives of the national space strategy from 2016, which had a firm focus on spreading knowledge about and increasing the application of space data," says Peter Sloth, Head of Division at the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education.

Copernicus is the world's largest earth observation program, which Denmark helps to fund and develop via the EU. With advanced optical cameras and radars, Copernicus satellites map the Earth every 2-3 days all year round. Data from the satellites are available for free.

Further information

Philippe Bonnet, Professor, email phbo@itu.dk

Vibeke Arildsen, Press Officer, phone 2555 0447, email viar@itu.dk