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Immersion at the heart of EarthLab Aquitaine

Last October, EarthLab Aquitaine celebrated its fifth anniversary! This marked an opportunity to review the development of the Gironde centre and the successes that have crowned its innovative approach. Created in 2013 in partnership with the Aquitaine Region, EarthLab Aquitaine is located a few kilometres away from Bordeaux, on the Aérocampus Aquitaine, where students and entrepreneurs can rub shoulders with experts in aeronautics, drones and space.

Innovation for operational benefit

EarthLab Aquitaine places client satisfaction at the heart of what it does, striving constantly to respond to their needs.

«When players in the Aquitaine Region ask for our help, we always begin by gaining a better understanding of the issues that they're facing. This is a crucial step that needs to be taken before we can offer suitable solutions that combine operational and economic efficiency. Client satisfaction is the watchword at EarthLab. »

Lilian Valette, head of the EarthLab Aquitaine centre

The strength of the team at EarthLab Aquitaine lies in its fluent mastery of advanced technology and its openness to innovation. EarthLab uses all available Earth observation data (satellites, aircraft, drones, ultralight aviation, etc.), before processing and combining this data to extract its value - i.e., the relevant information. In the current context, data has become a commodity, and the challenge now is to process all of these sources in parallel.

«  Depending on the project and the client’s issues, we recommend the most relevant image sources and develop unique algorithms to aid analysis through the use of increasingly automated methods. End users will receive a report that addresses their issues and is designed to help them make a decision

Elodie, algorithms expert

At EarthLab, the level of attention paid to the quality of our service feeds into two other areas of expertise: research and training, which together help boost the quality of the tools developed and their adoption by users. From defining client needs to the validation and use of services on the ground through appropriate training, the success of these environmental monitoring services requires the support of professionals. Research enables continuous improvement of the services delivered.

Looking back over five successful years

The early years of EarthLab Aquitaine allowed us to gather up a knowledge base of user requirements, and set up our first experiments in various fields with different partners. This Research & Development phase was supported by the Aerocampus Aquitaine and Aquitaine Region teams who, together with Telespazio France, supported the development of the first prototypes by EarthLab Aquitaine. This approach was a successful one, with the first contracts being signed in the first year.

Earthlab aquitaine and viticulture

Weighing the risks using satellite imagery

Thanks to extensive work carried out in collaboration with multiple partners: wineries, wine-growers, wine consultants, SMEs, equipment suppliers and laboratories, EarthLab Aquitaine has been able to develop a comprehensive range of viticulture services. The stakes are high in this sector: a grapevine disease can cripple an entire vineyard and lead to a poor economic year. To combat this, EarthLab offers to work with regional wine-growers in order to implement new tools for modulation and vineyard management. This offer has been very well received by the entire wine industry, which is seeking to minimise the use of inputs and plant protection products on the vines.

« Today, we are able to isolate different zones with varying nutritional needs, orchestrate selective harvesting or plan their development in accordance with business objectives. We work hand-in-hand with wineries, wine-growers and agricultural machinery manufacturers in order to integrate nutrient modulation into their everyday tools

Jean-Charles, agronomic and forest remote sensing expert

Earthlab aquitaine and forestry

Protecting forest resources, both locally...

Early on, Caisse Phyto Forêt entrusted EarthLab Aquitaine to help it combat the spread of pine tree pests in Landes. These highly contagious pests threaten Europe’s largest planted forest, which covers 1,400,000 hectares. Twice a year, EarthLab carries out image capturing above the area in order to observe any possible reddening of the trees. This surveillance means that an infected area can be precisely isolated as early as possible, in order to implement the appropriate measures.

…and worldwide

Illegal logging is a major threat to tropical forests. This is why EarthLab Aquitaine has developed CIRCAET, a space observation service which makes it possible to assess biomass volume, quantify timber resources and detect deforestation areas with great precision. For States and operators this represents an automated, efficient and economical solution that addresses the sustainability issues faced by the tropical forestry industry.

“Thanks to the algorithms developed for CIRCAET, we can very quickly detect an abnormal operation, which enables operators and local authorities to take action in order to maintain responsible forestry operations” confirms Arnaud, remote sensing engineer.

Earthlab aquitaine and coastlines

« Since EarthLab was launched, we have developed three main services for coastline analysis: monitoring coastline erosion, water quality and bathymetry, which is the measurement of depths. For example, above the tip of Cap Ferret we are monitoring the erosion of a 2-kilometre-long strip in order to be able to anticipate the flows and movements of the sandy bottoms in relation to the beach. The highly pressing issues affecting this coastal area require the surveillance of its coastal heritage. Imaging provides an objective and relevant observational tool to help make decisions. »

Sylvain, expert in ocean and coastal remote sensing

Exporting aquitaine’s riches

EarthLab is a pioneering laboratory for the development of services that are consistent with the needs of its home region. Today, the aim is to export solutions designed for viticulture, forestry and coastlines to new regions, particularly in Africa, but also to new sectors. In five years, EarthLab Aquitaine has gradually expanded its range of activities and users, proving that these local issues have global resonance.

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