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October 10th, 2012
Audience Selects SnowMonit as Best Service of 2012

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The Best Service Challenge was launched as an online audience award category of the second European Earth Monitoring Competition, GMES Masters 2012. This year, various providers submitted services that make use of Earth observation data in select GMES focus areas – Land, Marine Environments, Atmosphere, Emergency Management, Climate Change – at the GMES Masters website. All visitors to www.gmes-masters.com had the opportunity to register and vote for the service they regarded as most beneficial to European citizens. A clear majority chose SnowMonit – Monitoring Snow and Water Equivalent with a total of 3,477 public votes. This emergency management service was submitted by Francesco Bartoli from the company Geobeyond SRL. SnowMonit is designed to integrate and improve current services that treat snow avalanche information, snow accumulation, and derived parameters (i.e. snow water equivalent), thereby mapping the management of resources such as hydropower and water and the predictability of mountain hazards. This near real-time service will be able to enhance the situational awareness of nowcasting and forecasting products at the local, regional, and cross-border level. It can also observe critical parameters such as snow surface temperature and wetness, which are essential to increasing data quality. As the winner of the Best Service Challenge, Mr Bartoli will benefit from a substantial satellite data quota made available through financial support from the European Commission.

Coming in second with 3,047 was Fire Outbreaks – Prevention and Fast Reaction, submitted by Marco Talone from the company Serco S.p.A. and SMOS-BEC. Fire Outbreaks aims to prevent uncontrolled fire outbreaks and the serious ecological damage they cause every year while also facilitating the rapid responses needed to manage these events.

Earth Snapshot – A Daily View of the Planet was ranked third by the GMES Masters online audience. By publishing satellite images every day, this online portal enables specialists and laypersons alike to monitor environmental issues such as desertification, glacial melt, and deforestation. The service was submitted by the winner of last year’s Best Service Challenge, Luca Melano from the company CHELYS srl.

All of the other GMES Masters winners are currently being selected by dedicated experts and will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on 25 October 2012. The overall winner of the competition – the GMES Master – will be selected from amongst the winners of the Ideas Challenge, ESA App Challenge, DLR Environmental Challenge, T-Systems Cloud Computing Challenge, European Space Imaging High-Res Challenge, and Astrium Radar Challenge and will receive a cash prize of EUR 20,000, as well as a substantial satellite data quota made available by the European Commission.

The results of the competition will be published on the competition website www.gmes-masters.com on 26 October 2012.

For further information on the GMES programme, please visit www.esa.int/gmes and http://ec.europa.eu/gmes.

About the GMES Masters
Having begun in 2011, the annual GMES Masters competition supports the development of GMES-related entrepreneurship in Europe by rewarding the best projects and business ideas for GMES commercial services. Initiated by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and T-Systems and supported by the EU, European Space Imaging, and Astrium, GMES Masters 2012 called for proposals in five categories between 1 July and 16 September 2012. The overall winner of the competition – the GMES Master 2012 – will be selected from among the winners of the Ideas Challenge, ESA App Challenge, DLR Environmental Challenge, T-Systems Cloud Computing Challenge, European Space Imaging High-Res Challenge, and Astrium Radar Challenge and receive a cash prize of EUR 20,000.