Tackling the Challenges of Fresh Water Pollution with Data from Space


Fresh water is a natural resource many parts of the Earth already lack today. At the same time the pollution of fresh water lakes with cyanobacteria is a serious global threat. As this tendency is increasing, the Ideas Challenge 2014 winner CyanoLakes provides a solution that functions as a public warning system for cyanobacteria relying on satellite-based data. Its service uses accurate and up-to-date Copernicus high resolution images, in order to supply government authorities and other public organisations with information regarding destructive cyanobacteria blooms and respective nutrient enrichment in fresh water lakes. This service can prevent health impairments for humans and animals and therefore provides an added value for the public. Since 2014, Mark Matthews has been advancing the CyanoLakes service and has managed to realise an initial version. In February 2015, CyanoLakes was officially registered as a company and was awarded a contract for a three-year funded project in cooperation with the government of South Africa shortly afterwards. "Having my idea scrutinised by the expert Copernicus Masters jury was very valuable. It not only helped to precisely define the business concept, but also encouraged me to start a business" says Mar Matthews.

Copernicus Masters
Earth observation and the big data it produces hold huge potential for the creation of innovative products and services. Myriad industries and areas of public interest stand to profit from the advances of the Copernicus programme. On behalf of ESA, AZO and its world-class partners launched the Copernicus Masters in 2011 as part of its mission to foster user uptake of Copernicus Services.

This international competition annually awards prizes to innovative solutions for business and society based on Earth observation data. Since its inception, the Copernicus Masters has evolved into a unique global initiative for Earth observation by bundling a wide variety of knowledge and expertise. The submission phase for the 2016 edition will run from 15 April to 18 July.

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