Cultural Heritage and EO: what you’ll find at LPS22

Are you interested in the role of EO in the cultural heritage downstream sector?

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about it by attending the upcoming Living Planet Symposium in Bonn, next 23 -27 May – registration is now open.

Here’s a selection of scientific sessions and agora discussions you may want not to miss. You will listen and talk to a number of distinguished speakers, delving into interesting topics.


Wed 25
Future for Heritage

DEEP DIVE – 8:30–9:30 – Agora EUROPE

Due to the pandemic, according to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, as of early April last year, 71% of the 1,121 World Heritage sites had been closed, while 18% were only partially open. The unprecedented experience of the pandemic changed, and is still changing, the way we look at, understand and use our Heritage. What future and which technologies can reshape the awareness, preservation and fruition? There is the need to seriously start considering business models for Heritage that is becoming an emerging market for EO thanks also to the integration of multiple data sources (space and non-space) and innovative techniques (LiDAR, drones, local laser scanning, VR, XR, Artificial Intelligence, crowdsourcing etc.). At the same time, available downstream services are still acting independently, making their interoperability and potential synergies still challenging.
To date, Copernicus and Contributing Missions are already providing certain support for the management of Heritage during emergencies (especially in case of geo-hazards), as well as the mapping, monitoring, preservation of cultural heritage as a daily routine. However, this is only the “tip of the iceberg”, there are an additional range of geo-applications that can provide benefit and therefore related geo-business in the area of Heritage. The engagement of multi- and inter-disciplinary communities to fill the gap between experts (remote sensing, Cultural Heritage managers, AI experts, social scientists, civil protection and actors from impact sectors) represents a key factor for strengthening the communication and the collaborations between EO experts and Heritage managers as well as the connection between the data providers and the end-users /site managers.
Education and capacity building about the use of geo-applications to support heritage is an additional emerging area that will be also included in the proposed Agora.

While Digital Twin Earth will without doubt be extremely beneficial for humankind, its implementation is complex due to the tremendous amount of data involved. A “Digital Twin Heritage Site” implies the same technologies, but is however much more affordable due to its smaller size and the possibility to do in-situ verifications. This implies that selected heritage sites could be used to strengthen the know-how about Digital Twin Earth, and at the same time will open a certain market related with the 3D-and 4D modelling, visualization and presentation of selected heritage sites.
Therefore, is Heritage a candidate for the Digital Twin Earth? How Interdisciplinarity can support the generation of processes and practices for the use of technologies for Heritage? This session will focus on how to increase the awareness, the capacity building effectiveness, and the understanding of how innovative technologies can efficiently meet the needs of Heritage authorities, Tourist authorities, Park Rangers, as well as the overall research community.


Chairs: Dr. Mario Hernandez (Vice-President International Society for Digital Earth, ISDE; EARSeL Co-chair of Cultural and Natural Heritage SIG), Dr. Jolanda Patruno (RHEA Group S.p.A.; EARSeL Co-chair of Cultural and Natural Heritage SIG)

Thu 26

NETWORKING BREAKFAST – 8:00-9:00 – Club Lounge 1st Floor

What’s the interest in realising an artwork that can only be appreciated in its entireness from the sky? Apparently, none. Nevertheless, giant artworks perceivable only from above have been realised since the most ancient times, while the history of architecture counts endless examples of sophisticated buildings, castles, gardens and the like, whose plan or iconography can be only seen clearly by watching them downward from above. Examples of land art, integrated with natural or urban landscapes, continue generating interest also in the XXI Century, responding to what seems to be a peculiar human need for “decorating” our planet, while showing off our idea of beauty to those who might be watching from above.


Chairs: Dr. Jolanda Patruno (RHEA Group S.p.A. , EARSeL), Dr. Stefano Ferretti (ESA – European Space Agency), Grazia Maria Fiore (EURISY (European association of space agencies))

Cultural Heritage Trends and Opportunities for EO Commercialisation

TALKING BUSINESS – 14:00-15:00 – Agora GEMINI

Cultural Heritage, comprising of tangible cultural heritage, natural cultural heritage and more and more digital cultural heritage, is a key pillar of human society and identity. It’s impact on economic added value is also recognised: In Europe, for example, cultural tourism accounts for 40% of all touristic activates. While the digitalisation of the cultural heritage value chain remained relatively slow, the last years, and especially the impact of lockdowns and social distancing, have opened new opportunities for archaeologists, researchers, site managers, public administrators and visitors likewise. Digitalisation has become a major chance for the sector, supported by national and European policies and funding programmes. This development leads to new interfaces with the space sector and related technological advancements from cultural heritage creation (e.g. prospection & exploration, operations and recognition), through production (e.g. monitoring, conservation, protection) to transmission (e.g. site management, education, dissemination, and commercial products).

The deep dive aims at better understanding recent trends and developments in the sector as well as the current awareness level and usage with regard to EO data exploitation, but also developments in the fields of big data, data fusion, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality.


Chair: Thomas Crone (ESA)

Cultural and Natural Heritage

SCIENTIFIC SESSIONS – 8:30-10:10; 10:40-12:20 – Room H2.O2

Cultural and Natural Heritage (CNH) has a major significance for local communities, and symbolize the legacy and resources that will be passed on to future generations. CNH has therefore a critical value in building the local identity and strengthening the regional growth and development, and is included in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
There is a wide consensus about the usefulness of satellite technologies to support the study, documentation and systematic monitoring for protection and sustainable maintenance of CNH. This emerged quite explicitly at the exchange among experts during the last LPS19 in Milan. The session “Sentinels and Copernicus Contributing Missions for Cultural & Natural Heritage” attracted a wide representation of academic and industrial remote sensing science community who showcased how the Sentinels and Copernicus contributing missions are effective in providing an objective source of geospatial information to undertake a variety of specific tasks, such as: risk assessment, archaeological prospection, landscape archaeology, land use land cover mapping, evaluation of climate change impacts. Moreover, the delegates attending the session included also members from public administrations and authorities in charge of CNH management that were interested in learning how latest technological developments can generate a concrete impact on their domain of work.

Since then, the sector has further developed. The Copernicus Cultural Heritage Task Force (2020) has highlighted how the majority of the current Copernicus products satisfy the identified user requirements, and envisioned the high potential for Copernicus to stimulate substantial growth of the Cultural Heritage downstream market. For example, CEMS and SECURITY service have already dedicated sections for Cultural Heritage monitoring, while the community is looking forward to the potential benefits that will be provided by some specific products of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). Furthermore, various initiatives have been launched by ESA (e.g. Downstream Gateway, ARTES IAP) and national space agencies to support the development of downstream applications in the CNH sector.

In this context, this session aims to understand how EO scientists, CNH user community and institutional bodies have further progressed in the scientific exploitation of satellite data, also in combination with cutting edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to provide further benefits to professionals involved in the field of CNH but also to larger interested public, education and research sector.

The session aspires to provide a forum to discuss how satellite data and infrastructure are enablers for technological innovation and tailored solutions to address specific user needs.
We therefore encourage submissions focusing on:
– Solutions based on the exploitation of the Sentinels, Copernicus contributing missions and/or Third Party Missions data, as well as exploitation of AI, ML, thematic platforms, cloud computing resources and infrastructure, collaborative environments;
– Benefits from the use of Copernicus products and services, also in relation to impacts due to climate change and towards future resilience in CHN management;
– Use cases addressing specific user requirements and needs in the field of either CNH discovery, study, monitoring, preservation or cultural/touristic promotion;
– Practical examples of EO integration in operational systems, workflows and processes on CNH;
– Downstream applications, with a focus on multidisciplinary collaboration and partnerships between heritage institutions, academia and commercial providers;
– Initiatives of capacity building towards user uptake by the CNH community and end-users.

Chairs: Dr. Deodato Tapete (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, ASI), Dr. Branka Cuca (Politecnico di Milano); Dr. Iulia Dana Negula (Romanian Space Agency, ROSA), Dr. Jolanda Patruno(RHEA Group S.p.A.), Dr. Francesca Cigna (National Research Council, CNR)