Tuesday, January 25, 2011

CSA Contracts for Earth Observation

RADARSAT II is expected to be utilized in new and innovative ways by a dozen Canadian based companies who've just won a total of $6 million CDN to develop applications for data collected by the Earth observation satellite.

The official announcement by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) of the awarded contracts was made in the January 21st, 2011 press release "$6M for Earth Observation Applications" although several of the individual contracts had been previously announced.
RADARSAT-2 Quad Pol image of Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic (image c/o MDA).
According to the press release, the CSA sought bids specifically related to the following objectives:
To improve, increase and optimize the utilization of the RADARSAT-2 data allocation to meet the application needs of Government of Canada user Organizations;

To develop innovative methods, systems, products and/or services that address application needs with long term potential to increase the utilization of the RADARSAT-2 data allocation;

To demonstrate and assess the potential of the methods, systems, products and/or services within the context of the applications, and to recommend the next steps for them to become operational.
The contracts were awarded to a variety of (mostly) Canadian owned and based firms including
  • Gatineau based PCI Geomatics (for the development of data base products to monitor "ecological integrity")
  • Montreal based VIASAT Geo-Technologies (for a mapping application).
  • Ottawa based Noetix Research (to use RADARSAT-2 data for sea ice applications and training)
  • Quebec City based AECOM Consultants (for the mapping of boreal forests sensitive to paludification, a process by which peatlands in the boreal zone are formed),
  • St. John's based C-CORE (for northern defence, port security & marine surveillance satellite applications)
  • Toronto based A.U.G. Signals (for the development of a military and agricultural "change detection system") and Array Systems Computing (for the development of forestry, geology and synthetic aperture radar processing display and analysis software)
  • Vancouver based Hatfield Consultants (to use RADARSAT-2 data to monitor fish habitats around the Alberta oil-sands) and 3v Geomatics (for the development of an application to monitor the displacement of bridges in Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa/Hull).
  • Victoria based ASL Environmental Sciences (for a methodology to classify marine oil slicks using radar and optical imagery).
As well, Richmond, BC based RADARSAT II prime contractor MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA) was awarded two CSA contract under the program via MDA subsidiaries MDA Geospatial Services (to develop tools for ice mapping) and MDA Systems (for infrastructure mapping).

Each specific contract is worth, on average, around one half million dollars and includes a variety of government partners and potential clients.

I wonder if any of the contracts will ever develop a useful product that can be sold to someone who isn't already a part of the program?

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