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ISTEP (The intelligent Space Tasking and Exploitation Platform)


ISTEP (The intelligent Space Tasking and Exploitation Platform)

ADGA's R&D is shaping the future for first responders

Space-based Earth Observation data of all kinds are under-utilized due to barriers preventing individuals, organizations and governments from deriving value from these data products. Earth Observation (EO) satellites are increasing in number every year. As of January 2015, over 300 operational satellites are in use for EO, including 65 spacecraft launched in 2016.

ADGA Space Solutions division has conducted the R&D behind our latest Space Project ISTEP (The intelligent Space Tasking and Exploitation Platform).  ISTEP is a platform that will provide user-centric focus and infrastructure to eliminate barriers of pre-requisite knowledge currently needed to integrate information from multiple EO sensors. The possibilities for building applications with ISTEP technology are nearly limitless and include – but are certainly not limited to: all aspects of emergency management; agriculture and food security; forestry; infrastructure and industrial monitoring; and environmental stewardship. The first such application that we are working on, is flood monitoring.

“As the team lead for the ISTEP platform development R&D team I apply my software development and Earth Observation applications experience to the project: supporting the development team, defining the platform architecture and sharing the ISTEP vision within ADGA and in the community. In June, I will be making a presentation at the Earth Observation Summit conference in Montreal.” Alan Higginson, Lead Engineer

ISTEP is designed to provide users with information derived from EO data products: when they need it, where they need it, and only what they need. The platform is realized through a client-server architecture, leveraging mobile technology, and interfaces with existing EO missions to access the latest and best-suited data for a user’s needs. The ISTEP prototype will address the Emergency Responder community’s need for flood information.

To develop a user-centric prototype, the ISTEP team identified two primary user roles: a Field User and an Emergency Manager. Building from these roles, we defined a use case capturing the concept for interactions within an operational ISTEP system.

The Field User is an emergency responder on the ground in a flooding situation. Typical duties of a field user include the delivery of supplies and the local coordination of sandbagging, trenching, pumping, and similar activities. Accordingly, the Field User is most interested in information relevant to their current location and planned route. The Field User is constrained by intermittent access to communication networks and limited time to consult incoming data.

The Emergency Manager is an emergency responder located in a local base of operations. Typical duties of an Emergency Manager include the coordination of multiple Field Users, the acquisition and interpretation of situational awareness information, and the identification of safe routes for and efficient use of flood response resources. Accordingly, the Emergency Manager is most interested in the current and future flooding in a certain geographical area. The Emergency Manager is less constrained than the Field User but may require the flexibility to set up a “temporary base of operations”.

What makes ISTEP unique is its ability to achieve user-centric tasking via exploitation of EO platforms. The user profile and interactions with the mobile device will define the user context (e.g., user role, user location). In turn, this context will drive both tasking and ordering of satellites.

Tasking will be primarily driven by user location – satellites will be tasked when they have availability over the geographical area of interest. The role of each user in a given flood response effort will define the data of interest and thus the selection of satellites to be tasked.

ISTEP is the first EO solution of this kind, with promise to revolutionize the way First Responders receive, react, and respond to critical emergency driven data.

To learn more contact our Space Division directly.

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