e-shape side event at Photonic Applications Week

Photonic Applications Week | Smart Farming Conference 
1 October 2021 | Time: 10h30-12pm CET
Virtual event (zoom)


About Smart Faming Conference

After mechanisation, the introduction of mineral fertiliser and the industrialisation of production processes, connectivity and data management are now set to unleash the next revolution in the history of farming: Smart Farming / Precision agriculture. It has now reached a point where it is not only possible to collect vast quantities of data but also to control different pieces of equipment or monitor individual animals, the Internet of Things. A growing number of farmers are starting to adopt digital technology and data-driven innovations.

What new business models will be successful? Will new players disrupt the traditional farming landscape? How to deal with changes (from traditional farmer to smart farmer)? How to identify and develop innovative methods for sustainable food production?

> Find more info for the conference here.




The agricultural sector contributed in 2018 for 1.1% of the EU's overall GDP. EU confirms for yet another year its position as the largest global exporter of agri-food products.
However, the sector is facing several crucial challenges, just think the global food system is expected to provide safe and nutritious food to a population that will likely grow from 7.5 billion people today, to nearly 10 billion by 2050. Eventually the global food system also has a large environmental footprint. In fact, agriculture occupies nearly 40% of the earth’s surface, far more than any other human activity. In addition, irrigation of agricultural crops comprises 70% of global water use, and agriculture directly contributes to around 11% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

To meet these challenges, farmers need access to cutting-edge innovations, to sustainably increase production.The diversity and cost-effectiveness of technological solutions to monitor agricultural systems and the surrounding environment are increasing rapidly, as a result of an important and progressive investment of public and private organizations in this sector.
Remote Sensing data has many attractive features in the context of agri-environmental instruments. It provides accurate and objective data, and it can easily be tuned into specific areas and regions. In addition, EO supports the assessment of the sustainability of the practices by measuring soil quality, water supply and consumption, GHG emissions, among other indicators.

In this context, the pilot projects developed within e-shape represent concrete examples to that effect, as they have been conceived with the vision of an “umbrella” of services helping authorities, but also enabling a commercial application in the agri-food sector.


Workshop and format

The workshop is an e-shape labeled event, the European Commission’s Horizon2020 flagship project supporting the EuroGEO initiative demonstrating European EO capabilities applied to 7 showcases, including agriculture co developed with and for the users. The project’s ultimate goals id to foster entrepreneurship and develop research to business activities.
The first part of the workshop will set the stage by providing the audience with relevant information on the state-of-the-art technology market developments and trends as well as users' benefits perspective. The second part will be entirely devoted to a set of dual presentations performed by the service provider on one hand together with a current users involved in the co-design process. The presenters will provide hands-on training and users’ benefit on two applications.

The format foresees a Q&A and the end of the first part of the workshop and a discussion/Q&A/breakout-rooms at the end of the dual presentations to boost interaction and live engagement between the audience and the pilots through feedback useful to inject in the co-design methodology of the service development.
The workshop aims at bringing together industry, research and scientist communities to discuss about opportunities and challenges, injecting knowledge exchanges on co-design methodologies to develop the operational uptake of mature satellite-based services.


Draft agenda

10.00 – 10.05 Annalisa Donati, Acting Secretary General EURISY- Welcome and Introductory remarks

10.05 - 10.15 Katya Dimitrova, Project Coordinator, RST-TTO (Risk Space Transfer Office)
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences: EO as a key tool in the 1-st National Research Programme Smart crop production

10.15 - 10.25 Daire Boyle, Consultant, Evenflow, EO, sustainability and the digital agriculture market

10.25 – 10.45 Matic Serc, CEO, eVineyardm; Gunter Zeug, Founder and Conrad Bielski, CTO at Risconition; How co-design is used to extract EO value for Farmers

10.45 -11.10 Laurent Tits, team leader of Agricultural applications at VITO, Jurgen Decloedt, Business Development Remote Sensing, VITO: WatchITgrow: enabling parcel-based monitoring services

11.10 -11.20 Q&A/breakout

11.20 -11.30 Wrap-up and closing remarks


e-shape pilots’ description

The e-shape project: e-shape, is a 48-month project under the framework of Horizon 2020 and constituted by a pan-European team of academic, industrial, institutional and user communities. It is a unique initiative that brings together decades of public investment in Earth Observation and in cloud capabilities into services for the decision-makers, the citizens, the industry, and the researchers. It allows Europe to position itself as a global force in Earth observation through by leveraging Copernicus, making use of existing European capacities, and improving user uptake of the data from GEO assets, opening new opportunities and expand its use, through the existing European capacities, as well as developing research to business activities. 32 cloud-based pilot applications under 7 thematic areas address societal challenges, foster entrepreneurship and support sustainable development, in alignment to the three main priorities of GEO (SDGs, Paris Agreement and Sendaï Framework).

Linking EO and Farm IoT for Automated Decision Support

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Integrating free and open data, especially the Earth observing Copernicus Sentinels, into the decision support system (DSS) of growers around the world to improve daily decision making is vital to improving and sustaining vineyards and orchards as well as other fruit production. Depending on the regional climatology, different water regimes and plant specific information is needed to adequately support daily operations and the dense temporal Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 image coverage can significantly improve information access and content.

Climate change is affecting local production of agricultural commodities. Fruits, including grapes produced in vineyards and other fruits that are grown in orchards can be significantly affected by a number of climatic and environmental changes which reduces productivity and potentially affects the entire harvest. By linking EO data with ground measurements from Internet of Things (IoT) devices providing in-situ field measures, automated farm management systems can provide farmers and growers with actionable and timely information to improve their productivity and farming solution sustainability.


Providing services able to support agriculture activities to resist and adapt to climate change and at the same time ensuring the increase of productivity in a sustainable manner.
Showcasing that Copernicus data sets combined with the necessary in-situ data (collected based on information collected from farm machines, industry experts and field sensors), weather and soil data can deliver improved information for-and deliver economic value to European agricultural industry and farmers.
The concept is built upon a smart combination of in situ, weather and EO data. Data collected in the GEOGLAM pilot of the Agricultural showcase will be adapted to address the needs of the agro industry.



Annalisa is currently Acting as secretary general of Eurisy, the European association of space agencies striving to bridge the gap between space and society. As Research Fellow at the European Space Policy Institute she was responsible for the studies on space economy, finance and innovation’s domains. Before joining ESPI she was a Young Graduate Trainee within the Industrial Policy and SMEs Division of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Temporary Officer at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). Annalisa holds a M.S. in Diplomatic Studies from the SIOI and in Multilateral Security from the University of Perugia.

Francesca is project officer at EARSC, the European Association of Remote Sensing Companies, which coordinates and promotes activities of European companies engaged in delivering EO geo-information services. She is currently the e-shape project WP coordinator, a European project that develops and promotes European Earth Observation capabilities with and for the users. Prior to this role, she collaborated with the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Rosario (Argentina) assisting with EU projects, and Business Bridge Europe, where she worked for the annual EU Space Conference. Francesca holds a MA in EU external relations and international migration from the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies.

Laurent Tits obtained his master in Bioscience Engineering in 2009 and his PhD in 2013 at the KU Leuven, Belgium, where he focused on the use of EO data in orchards. He is currently the team leader of the agricultural applications team at VITO Remote Sensing, Belgium. With his team, current agricultural applications of EO data encompass the broad range of very precise UAV data for detailed monitoring and phenotyping, up to the general monitoring of all the agricultural production areas on a global scale and everything in between. The activities encompass both research and feasibility studies as operational services.

Daire Boyle is a consultant at Evenflow, Belgium. He holds a BEng in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from the Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland and a MSc in International Business Economics and Management from the KU Leuven University, Belgium. After his studies, Mr. Boyle worked as an engineer for 4 years with a large, upstream oil & gas company in the UK. He currently works with Evenflow, where his work includes providing sustainability support to several large projects, conducting various market and economic analyses and undertaking business/exploitation planning.

Jurgen is Professional with more than 20 years of experience in digital technologies specializing in remote sensing and digitization of agriculture. Following his master's degree, Jurgen worked in high-tech environments at Philips, TeleAtlas and TomTom, focusing on bringing new digital technologies to market in various business and product management roles. In 2016 he joined the VITO remote sensing team, delivering remote sensing-based applications that digitize agriculture. Aiming specifically at helping farmers and food companies in their sustainability journey, VITO developed a number of data science applications, like WatchITgrow, with Remote Sensing data as the core data layer.

Matic has more than 10 years of experience with innovation management and software development, with the last seven years being focused on the area of digital solutions for agriculture, particularly viticulture. He is a CEO of the company Elmibit from Slovenia, developing eVineyard software, and is actively involved in various technology innovation activities.

About the organisers

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