Portuguese Space Agency brings
Earth Observation to municipalities

The "Earth Observation for Municipalities" initiative aims to bring Portuguese regions closer to this space technology.
The first session will take place in the north of Portugal, in November, in Guimarães.

The “Earth Observation for Municipalities” series of sessions, organised by Portuguese Space Agency, will tour all Portuguese regions with the support of local strategic partners. The initiative is a follow up to the “Copernicus for Smart Cities” session held in Lisbon in May 2023. Now, the scope has been widened and a tour of the country has begun to discuss the needs of the various regions and publicise the potential of Earth Observation in the search for solutions. The ultimate goal is to understand the obstacles, spread the word about the opportunities and ensure that all municipalities have access to space technologies.

“These events come as a response to the various regional requests received after the ‘Copernicus for Smart Cities’ session, which sought to publicise and promote the adoption of Copernicus data and services in this context, by demonstrating practical application examples and sharing participants’ needs and capabilities”, explains Carolina Sá, Earth Observation project manager at Portuguese Space Agency.

The kick-off to this series of sessions is aimed at municipalities and public and private institutions in the northern region of Portugal. The first of six events of this initiative will take place on 28 November, in Guimarães, at Teatro Jordão, with the support of the Municipal Council of Guimarães.

The session starts at 9.30am with an introduction by Domingos Bragança, mayor of Guimarães, and Hugo Costa, executive director of Portuguese Space Agency. The morning will be divided into three thematic blocks: Earth observation and municipalities; Opportunities and Future Prospects; Applications.

The thematic sessions will be attended by representatives from the Municipal Council of Guimarães, the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection and the Northern Portugal Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR-N). Industry and academia will also be present at the sessions, with speakers from Colab + Atlantic, Spotlite, the University of Trás-Os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD) and the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto (FCUP) confirmed.

In the afternoon, the round table “Innovation in Municipalities” will bring together companies and municipal institutions, moderated by Pedro Arezes, President of the School of Engineering at the University of Minho. The day closes with a matchmaking session, with the possibility of bilateral meetings.

Carolina Sá says that “promoting the use of space technologies among municipalities is one of the Agency’s priorities”. “By promoting this type of event, we are helping to bring municipalities closer to Earth Observation technologies, so crucial for land management. The aim is to inform municipalities about these tools, publicise funding opportunities and show them that these technologies are accessible to everyone”, she adds.

Paulo Lopes Silva, member of the Municipal Council of Guimarães, considers this event to be an opportunity for the entire business, scientific and cultural fabric of the region to get closer to space and Earth Observation technologies, demonstrating a commitment to innovation and the use of intelligent solutions to address local challenges. Referring to the establishment of the Aerospace Engineering course at the future Fábrica do Arquinho in Guimarães, Paulo Lopes Silva argues that “the use of space technologies to develop new solutions, products and services represents a significant step towards the future“, and this initiative will “stimulate the development of all kinds of solutions that use space data to improve citizens’ quality of life”, strengthening the creation of an aerospace hub, as well as possible partnerships between municipal institutions, industry and academia. “The future is not only sustainable, but also smart and spatial”, he concludes.

The event “Earth Observation for Municipalities – Northern Region” is free and open to the public, but registration is compulsory, and participation is limited to the capacity of the venue. The provisional agenda is already available for consultation on the Portuguese Space Agency’s website.

The series of “Earth Observation for Municipalities” sessions will then move on to the other Portuguese regions: Centre, Lisbon and Tagus Valley and Alentejo, Algarve, Autonomous Region of the Azores and Autonomous Region of Madeira. The dates for the next events will be announced shortly.

Portugal Space
6 of November, 2023