CloudlessEO Algorithm Fills in Clouds and Shadows in Optical Satellite Imagery
BERLIN, December 15, 2021 – UP42 is pleased to recognize Thetaspace as winner of the UP42 Airbus Challenge in the 2021 Copernicus Masters Competition. The Gilching, Germany, firm has won EUR 100,000 in awards for the development of its CloudlessEO algorithm which leverages Deep Learning (DL) to fill data gaps created by clouds and their shadows in optical satellite imagery.
“We congratulate Thetaspace for devising a practical solution to the cloud-cover problem that has plagued optical satellite imaging since its inception,” said UP42 CEO Sean Wiid. “The CloudlessEO algorithm will help address environmental and sustainability issues in frequently cloudy areas, such as equatorial regions where deforestation is a major concern.”
Now in a beta version, the CloudlessEO algorithm uses a DL technology called Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) to extract geometric and spectral information from Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite data. This process generates highly accurate synthetic optical data to replace pixels obscured by clouds or shadows in the optical satellite image.
The CloudlessEO algorithm will dramatically enhance the cost-effectiveness of satellite imaging by increasing the usability of imagery once considered too cloud covered for practical use. The Thetaspace solution will also save significant time for geospatial end users who may spend days or weeks waiting for a cloud-free image to be acquired over their area of interest.
“We are excited about the many opportunities the UP42 Copernicus Masters Challenge offered us,” said Zayd Mahmoud Hamdi, CEO of Thetaspace. “Not only did it validate our original concept but it also allowed us to deploy a SAAS solution that can help solve critical issues such as wildfires, floods, deforestation and other severe phenomena that continue to affect our planet.”
Copernicus Masters is the most prestigious Earth Observation (EO) competition in the world, held annually to foster innovative applications of remotely sensed data that address Earth’s most compelling environmental, social, and business problems. In 2021, UP42 joined other leading geospatial organizations such as Airbus, the European Space Agency (ESA), European Commission, and German Aerospace Center (DLR) in sponsoring EO Challenges.
The UP42 Airbus Challenge called on participants to propose algorithms that advance EO analytics by using GANs to augment satellite imagery.
“UP42 commends everyone who entered the competition. We are honored to participate as a first-time sponsor in Copernicus Masters, which has become a primary driver of innovation in our industry,” said UP42’s Wiid. “Our Challenge was extremely technical, and we were overwhelmed by the quality of submissions that came from all over the world.”
As the winner of the UP42 Airbus Challenge, Thetaspace will receive a EUR 20,000 voucher to access all geospatial data and algorithms on the UP42 developer platform and marketplace, and a EUR 80,000 voucher for commercial satellite data from the Airbus OneAtlas Living Library.
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