EO Detective ID LE2-0605-IN-WORD

What do you work on?

My day-to-day role is as technical director of a software company, which involves making technical decisions about how we make things, as well as general running of the business. For example, I make decisions about what technologies we use, and also work in the tooling and frameworks we use with those technologies. The running of the business includes making important decisions such as strategy, and hiring decisions.

In 2016 I was a member of the winning team at the ESA Space App Camp in Frascati. These events bring programmers together to develop creative and innovative apps that make Earth observation data – particularly from Copernicus – accessible to a wide range of citizens.

ESA

How did you come to be an EO Detective?

My three most important school subjects were maths, physics and music. I have a computer science degree from the University of Leicester, which I completed when I was 22. I now have a very senior role, but app design initially appealed to me because of the chance to create a wide variety of software.

Tell us about the pictures and where your data comes from

In this picture, I’m talking to a vineyard owner about how satellite data could help him predict the quality of his wine.

Our app, Saturnalia, uses data – primarily from the Sentinel 2 satellite – to work out areas covered by vineyards, so we can find wine-making regions. We also use data from Sentinels 1 & 3. This allows us to work out quantities such as the leaf area index, temperature, soil moisture and chlorophyll levels. All of these factors affect the quality of the grapes grown in a particular region and season. This data is combined with information from a large wine database to compare wines grown in different regions and years.

Sinergise: Sentinel Playground

The image above is a soil moisture map of the area around Chianti in early May 2017. It was created from Sentinel data using Sentinel Playground, an app produced by a company called Sinergise.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I enjoy the freedom to make decisions which I think are best for the direction of the company. For example, I decide which technologies we use to make apps and build tools to help us make great software.

Tell us about your favourite image of the Earth from space

NASA

I like this image because it shows the vastness of the Earth, and also represents the great number of technological problems humans had to overcome to get to the point of being able to explore space. It is from 3 June 1965 when Ed White became the first American to leave his spacecraft. He floated around Gemini IV for over 20 minutes … and travelled 500 miles in that time.

What do you do in your spare time?

I have a great love of film, I play and write music, and I love to cook.

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