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Geoinformation from space sharpens population density maps

26 April 2006: In response to a growing demand for sharpened census data, GeoVille Information Systems has developed ‘real-world population’ maps based on Earth observation, under a contract named EO-STAT awarded by ESA, which can assist the private and public sector in fields such as geomarketing, market research, business location analysis, risk assessment and transport and urban planning.

GeoVille, an Austrian company specialising in geo-information, and Tele Atlas, a leading provider of road networks worldwide, are providing detailed models of areas based on road network information, statistical population data – supplied by the German-based market research institute GfK – and Earth observation (EO) images from ESA’s Envisat, NASA’s LANDSAT and the French Space Agency’s SPOT satellites.

Results are then integrated into Tele Atlas’ digital geographic database, MultiNet, and can – among other applications – be used to spot the target groups for geomarketing campaigns.

Geomarketing determines consumer profiles according to geographical zones based on market-specific data by using geographical information along with population and economic statistics. Companies can use this information to visualize the geographic location of potential target groups before implementing costly marketing campaigns and to envision future growth on a local or national scale. For instance, this information can be used to strategically choose a heavily populated area in which to place a business in another country without ever placing a foot in the region.

Data provided by EO-STAT (EO derived information for sharpening socio-economic STATistics) makes the transition from the current population statistics to the ‘real-world’ population situation.

Information on ‘real-world population’ distribution is already available through EO-STAT for all of Austria with extensions in Germany, but the largest potential of the project is in regions and countries where limited information on population distribution is available. Thus, EO-STAT is currently working to provide models for Eastern European countries, where the statistical data are sometimes fragmented not homogeneous. In light of the European Union’s expansion to the east, there is an increasing demand for geoinformation from this region to allow local and national businesses to make better informed decisions. GeoVille is also currently providing maps over the province of Shanghai in China.

The EO-STAT service is organised in partnership with German-based Infoterra GmbH and Brockmann Consult. The EO-STAT contract was awarded by ESA within the framework of the Earth Observation Market Development (EOMD) programme.