New CEO at GAF AG: Dr. Sebastian Carl takes over from Dr. Peter Volk on 1 July 2018

After 32 years of working for GAF and more than 11 years in the position of CEO, Peter Volk stepped down from the latter position as planned on 30 June 2018. On 1 July, Sebastian Carl took over as CEO of GAF.

Sebastian Carl has been with the company for more than 25 years and previously already managed large parts of the companies’ activities. With an educational background as an agricultural engineer, he gained a doctorate in SAR imagery analysis using artificial analysis. Among other things, he has worked with the analysis of large volumes of EO data at GAF.

Peter Volk will remain available to the company in order to ensure a smooth transition and assistance with strategic and operative functions. GAF is very pleased that it can provide management continuity and therefore ongoing excellent service to its existing and future clients.

Bridging the digital divide

GAF AG developed an internet browser based Land Cover Mapping Tool with support from the European Space Agency (ESA), which fully utilises the high temporal resolution of Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite data without the need of local data storage and processing.

A cloud computing backend enables users to remotely access and process large data volumes for their mapping task. The tool was successfully demonstrated during a 3 day workshop held in Malawi, which experiences the challenge of slow and unstable internet connection common in many developing countries. Together with staff members of the Department of Forestry (DoF), several sites in Malawi were mapped. The integration of multiple Sentinel-2 image acquisitions and the derivation of statistical measures thereof helped to overcome challenges in mapping tropical dry forest.

GAF to upgrade the computerized mining cadastre system in Nigeria

In the framework of the “Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project” financed by World Bank a delegation from the Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office visited GAF for two weeks. Main objective was to become familiar with the latest developments in digital mining cadastres eMC+ as well as in the application of remote sensing and geo-information technologies for mining governance.

The study trip included a visit to the Bavarian Mining Authority and to a salt mine in the Bavarian Alps.

GAF supports climate smart livelihood in more than 200 communities in Ghana

Rural livelihoods in the savannah ecosystem of northern Ghana are facing increasing consequences of climate change and environmental degradation. Adaptation and mitigation to climate change have become a necessity.

GAF assists in producing maps, where current community land-use, natural resource reserves and individual resource holdings are visualised, and in deriving development plans, where future land-use and enterprise expansion can be understood. Focus is the implementation of a digital mapping unit in the Ministry of Forest and Agriculture Office in Wa, Upper West Region, Ghana. The technical assistance comprises training, design of mapping methodologies and support to digital map production.

GAF geology experts to prepare for an upcoming project in Saudi Arabia

Mid of June 2019 our Team of Lead Geologists was invited by the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) in Jeddah to discuss the outline and details of an upcoming geological mapping project covering the entire outcrop of the Arabian-Nubian Shield in Saudi Arabia.

The delegation of Dr. Tobias Wever and Dr. Bernd Schulte was explaining GAF’s up-to-date approach to utilise modern geo-technologies and the latest scientific knowledge on proterozoic mineral potential alongside with an industry-type management of this challenging and huge project. SGS officials received these messages with highest interest and were open for a participation of GAF and partners in the forthcoming tendering process. Our team could further intensify possible cooperation talks with a leading exploration company on this and other opportunities, as they were also present in KSA for a similar mission.

REDDCopernicus Stakeholder Workshop, 24-25 June 2019, JRC Ispra, Italy

The H2020 Project Capacity for Copernicus REDD+ and Forest Monitoring Services (REDDCopernicus) hosted 2-day workshop from 24-25 June 2019 at the EC’s Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy. The aim of the workshop was to bring together the main stakeholders for a consultative examination of the status of Earth Observation based Forest Monitoring both internationally and in Europe.

More than 30 participants from all over the world attended the workshop, including representatives from a variety of REDD+ countries (such as Mozambique, Indonesia, Brazil, Ethiopia), transnational organizations (East African Science and Technology Commission EASTECO), International Financing Institutions (World Bank), Intergovernmental and Non-Governmental Organizations (FAO, WRI) as well as members from the Earth Observation Industry and Scientific Communities.

GAF is service provider to ESA Earth Observation Clinic

The European Space Agency (ESA) has launched the EO Clinic (Earth Observation Clinic), a rapid-response mechanism for small-scale and exploratory uses of satellite EO information in support of a wide range of projects and activities specific to International Development. The EO Clinic consists of “on-call” technically pre-qualified teams of EO service suppliers ready to help development projects with a comprehensive range of skills and experience in terms of geospatial product generation and analyis, based on a large variety of satellite data.

The EO Clinic is now open to support requests by key development banks and agencies. GAF in a team led by e-geos is one of the selected service providers. More information can be found here: https://eo4society.esa.int/eo_clinic/

Copernicus Land Monitoring: High-Resolution Layers 2018 kick off!

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has entrusted GAF AG with the latest update of the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service’s High-Resolution Layers FOREST and GRASSLAND.

In the presence of representatives from the European Environment Agency (EEA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Topic Centre on Urban, Land and Soil Systems (ETC-ULS), the High-Resolution Layer (HRL) update 2018 kicked off on 21/22 Jan. 2019 in Copenhagen. Based on full time series of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 observations, the GAF-led team will perform a pan-European consistent update of HRL Forest and Grassland characteristics for all EEA-39 countries (approx. 6 million km²) at an unprecedented spatial resolution of 10m.

The important role of remotely sensed data for the protection of forests

Copernicus Sentinel data have successfully been used to demonstrate a Near-Real-Time Forest Monitoring System in two provinces of Ecuador. At an early stage the system is recording tree cover loss caused by illegal logging activities over large areas. The verification and documentation of the deforestation alerts is supported by aerial imagery taken with remotely piloted drones (see image) at the hot spots. Read more about the role of remotely sensed data for the protection of forests in the HORIZON online magazine.

https://horizon-magazine.eu/article/drones-and-satellite-imaging-make-forest-protection-pay.html

GAF participates at 1st workshop on the future of German space activities

Dr. Peter Volk, in his capacity as Vice-Chairman of the GAF Supervisory Board, participated in the first workshop on the future of German space activities. The event took place at the DLR headquarters on 12th November 2018 and was initiated by Thomas Jarzombek, a member of Parliament and Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy. The high-profile workshop discussed the opportunities and challenges for Germany’s space investments during the upcoming years. At the workshop, Peter Volk emphasised the importance of utilising new developments in the Earth observation downstream sector and the prominent role of industry stakeholders.

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