Ideas Challenge

Do you have an innovative idea for making commercial use of GMES in any of its main thematic areas? Then make sure to check out the Ideas Challenge, which is at the core of the second iteration of the GMES Masters competition. To find out what's become of last year's winner, how you could benefit from the new Pilot GeoServer, and which events you should add to your calendar, simply read on!

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The Ideas Challenge is at the core of the GMES Masters competition. It invites students, entrepreneurs, start-up companies, and SMEs to submit ideas for innovative commercial uses of GMES to a secure online database at the GMES Masters website. All submissions are welcome, that address any of the following main thematic areas: land, marine environments, atmosphere, emergency management, or climate change.


The winner will be rewarded with a cash prize of EUR 10,000 and the chance to develop their idea further at one of the six ESA Business Incubation Centres (BICs). This incubation package will be worth up to EUR 60,000.
Furthermore, the winner will enter the final evaluation with the chance to become the overall winner - the GMES Master, a title endowed with a cash prize of EUR 20,000.


The best commercially viable business idea using GMES data will be selected from among all those submitted based on the recommendation of an independent panel of experts.
Please make sure to save the date of 1 October 2012 for a personal presentation of your idea in case you are selected as one of the finalists in the Ideas Challenge.

Please submit your business idea at before 16 September 2012.



GEODAN was the winner of the Ideas Challenge and the GMES Master 2011 thanks to its innovative project DeforestACTION EarthWatchers - Crowd-Sourced Tropical Forest Monitoring. In April 2012, the Dutch company started a pilot project that actively involves schoolchildren in protecting the rainforest in western Borneo as "EarthWatchers". "Our number of EarthWatchers has increased daily since April, and the DeforestACTION team on the ground in Borneo has been keeping them up-to-date on the local situation. Students and teachers alike are excited about the way this unique initiative enables young people to get involved in protecting our resources while learning about Earth observation and the natural dynamic of rainforests," reports Dr Eduardo Dias of GEODAN. "Winning the GMES Masters in 2011 gave EarthWatchers a tremendous boost. The increased international attention we've received since the competition has made it possible to connect to satellite providers such as Astrium, e-geos, GeoEye, and DCMii, who now satisfy the project's data needs."


As part of the first ESA App Camp (, which will take place at ESA-ESRIN from 18 to 22 June 2012, a Pilot GeoServer has been configured with interfaces to available geodata to facilitate simple, centralised access to the data products of preoperational GMES services. This will make it possible to call up data in the categories of air, land, and water on mobile devices. The atmospheric data offers information on ozone levels in the air, for example, and the land data can include elevation models or specifications on nutrients present in the ground. The information on water quality, meanwhile, can contain data on chlorophyll and particle content or water temperature in specific locations. Through the GMES Masters website, the pilot server is now available free of charge to any GMES Masters participants interested in infusing their ideas with real data for testing and optimisation purposes. "We want to help developers familiarise themselves with the tremendous range of potential applications made possible by GMES and provide an easy way to access test data for their own ideas," explains Josef Aschbacher, head of the GMES Space Office at ESA-ESRIN.


18 to 22 June App Camp - The ESA App Developer Lab
Frascati, Italy
20 to 21 June WorldView Global Alliance User Conference 2012
Munich, Germany
22 to 28 June Toulouse Space Show 2012
Toulouse, France
22 to 27 July IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium - Remote Sensing for a Dynamic Earth
Munich, Germany
30 July to 10 August Earth Observation Summer School on Earth System Monitoring & Modelling
Frascati, Italy
11 to 16 September ILA Berlin Air Show
Berlin, Germany
24 to 29 September 20 Years of Progress in Radar Altimetry
Venice, Italy
9 to 11 October Intergeo
Hanover, Germany
1 October Evaluation meeting of the Ideas Challenge -
Finalists will be invited to present their ideas in person.
25 October Awards Ceremony

The GMES Masters is an initiative of the European Space Agency (ESA), the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and T-Systems and is supported by the European Union, European Space Imaging GmbH, and Astrium Services.

To learn everything else about the GMES Masters competition, please visit
For further information on the GMES programme, please refer to and

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