Could there be a connection between umbrellas on Mediterranean beaches seen from space and economic forecasts? Apparently yes. Creotech Instruments S.A. and its Partners from the international EYE (EconomY by spacE) project are working on an Earth observation tool to record parameters related to agriculture, population, transportation, and tourism. The information provided by the tool, sourced using various methods, will be used for market and economic analyses.
Pandemic-induced restrictions left a strong mark on many aspects of life, in both social and economic contexts. COVID-19 upset the balance of the global industry, disrupted industrial production across many segments, and brought turmoil to supply chains and transportation channels. The pandemic also spurred changes in international rules of cooperation. From this emerged a need for a new tool that would reliably measure and study these new phenomena. The EYE project employs automated methods relying primarily on the analysis of satellite data in reference to, for example, statistical and economic parameters reported in the EUROSTAT and ESPON databases. Managed by the University of Tor Vergata, Rome, this international venture leverages a staff exchange approach between selected scientific institutions and companies from Italy, Poland, Spain, Greece and Cyprus. Creotech Instruments, as one of the leaders in this field, represents Poland in this project, working in close collaboration with the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences.
“This ambitious task’s top priority is to build partnerships with international parties and develop an innovative tool to conduct economic analyzes using methods of processing and combining various data streams that are unique on a European scale. The project will also make special use of the data and services of the European Copernicus satellite program available on the Creodias platform, which was launched in 2018 by a Creotech Instruments-led consortium,” says Grzegorz Brona, PhD, President of the Management Board of Creotech Instruments S.A.
Satellite imagery can be used to forecast the rate at which the economy is getting back on its pre-pandemic track, for example by monitoring the movement of ships in ports or vehicles on roads. Currently, many economic indicators lag behind the actual situation and decisions made by companies and consumers. Real-time satellite data can expedite market analyses and help take informed action. Multidimensional analyses are also assisted by advanced artificial intelligence algorithms.
“The EYE platform is an extraordinary example of adopting an out-of-the-box approach to sourcing knowledge about macroeconomic phenomena by leveraging data seemingly unrelated to economics, including satellite imagery. As it turns out, the number of umbrellas opened on Mediterranean beaches in summer is directly correlated with the tourism industry’s revenues. Further, the observation of tanker traffic facilitates predictions of the movements of crude oil prices on world markets. Such information is extremely valuable not only for statistical purposes but also to private investors,” says Krzysztof Mysłakowski, Business Development Manager at Creotech Instruments S.A.
The Eye project is carried out under the H2020 RISE program and is scheduled for completion in 2025.