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Summer camp yields innovative apps

This week's ESA App Camp didn't see canoeing or campfires. Developers worked diligently despite the Mediterranean heat to create applications for mobile phones that bring Earth observation and GMES services to the everyday user.

Ending today at ESRIN, ESA's centre for Earth observation, in Frascati, Italy, 21 developers from 17 ESA and EU Member States spent the week creating mobile applications or apps using satellite data. The goal was to come up with some innovative and off the beaten track ideas for apps using Earth-monitoring data on smartphones, in particular by calling on the possibilities offered by the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme.

In groups of four, each team worked to create an app under the following categories: GMES for Everyday Life, Observe and Learn, Play the GaMES and Discovering Climate Change with GMES.

On a balmy Friday afternoon, developers of the ShareAware app won the challenge. Their app aims to interconnect people concerned about the environment to understand, learn about, be prepared for or react to various events or remote sensing results.

Organised by environmental 'themes', such as water, air quality, deforestation or disasters, users could browse the datasets and report on a certain issue relevant for that theme and location a 'callout'.

Users could write a short message or post an image in their callouts. GMES products would also be made available for reference in the various thematic areas.

Members of the winning team were each presented with an iPad3.

The other apps developed during the week included the educational app GEOLife that shows how Earth observation data can affect our daily lives. TeakGuard aims to protect rainforests from illegal logging, 4Sense is in the game category and EnviSim attempts to simulate the effect of policy decisions and technical developments on Earth's climate and environment.

Participants of the App Camp are encouraged to submit their apps to the ESA App Challenge by 16 September for the chance to win support by one of the seven ESA Business Incubation Centres, valued at 60 000.

The App Challenge is an initiative of ESA's GMES Space Office to promote awareness of GMES to a wider community. It complements the GMES Master Prize competition, which awards prizes for the best projects and business ideas involving commercial GMES applications. It supports the development of market-oriented applications that use data from the programme.

Contact: Robert Meisner
European Space Agency

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