Want to know the top ten Pixalytics blogs of the year?

Artist's rendition of a satellite - paulfleet/123RF Stock Photo

Artist’s rendition of a satellite – paulfleet/123RF Stock Photo

Have you read all of our 2015 blogs? Did you miss a few weeks for a holiday? Whatever your answers, it turns out you may not have seen our most widely read blog last year.

As this is the final blog of the year we like to take a look back over the past fifty-two weeks and see which blog’s captured people’s attention, and conversely which did not!

So what have we discovered? Well, five of the top six most read blogs of 2015 were not actually written in 2015, but in 2014! This is a really positive thing for us, as it means our writing has a currency beyond the week/month/year in which it was written. The most widely read blogs in 2015, written in 2014, were in order:

  • How many Earth observation satellites are in space?
  • What do colours mean in satellite imagery?
  • How many satellites are orbiting the Earth?
  • Why understanding spatial resolution is important?
  • Remote sensing big data: possibilities and dangers

The remainder of the top ten were written in 2015, and in order were:

  • How many satellites are orbiting the Earth in 2015?
  • Mastering Landsat images in 5 simple steps!
  • Why counting animals from spaces isn’t as hard as you think?
  • Five Landsat quirks you should know
  • How many Earth observation satellites in orbit in 2015?

The eagled eyed amongst you will have noticed an interesting overlap between the two lists, namely the obvious interest in the number of satellites, and Earth observation satellites, orbiting the planet. I have a strong feeling a 2016 update will occur sometime next year!

We know counting the number of views of the blogs doesn’t give a true picture, as blogs issued earlier in the year are likely to have been read more than later ones. Therefore I’d like to give an honourable mention to three blogs written in November and December that still made it into the top 20, despite their limited time. These were:

  • Pixalytics is growing!
  • Practical Handbook of Remote Sensing
  • Sentinel-2 data released into the wild

This is our second year of weekly blog writing, and it has got a bit easier. We try wherever possible to have the blog written by Tuesday night, so it is ready to go out the next day. This has eliminated a lot of the pressure we had last year; arriving at the office on a Wednesday morning knowing we had a blog to issue in two hours and nothing written!

One thing we do ask ourselves each year, is whether all of this effort is worth it? I know if you read all the social media experts they will tell you it is vital to write a blog, but we think about whether our blog adds value to our business?

The answers this year came from:

  • Geo-Business 2015 and the 2015 UK Space Conference – We exhibited at both of these conferences and had a significant number of people come up to our stand and tell us that they read, and enjoyed our blog, which was great to hear.
  • Catalin, our new Erasmus student – If you read last week’s blog you’ll know that Catalin found Pixalytics by seeing a blog written by our summer Erasmus student, Selin.
  • Expert Authority – We know potential clients read our blog before developing a relationship with us, and it gives them a level of confidence in terms of Pixalytics being a company who knows its field and are up to date with what is happening.

We think the blog does add value to our business, and we intend to carry on next year.

We’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and a very successful 2016!

Thanks for reading.

2015 UK Space Conference Lifts Off

Uk Space 2015We’re at the UK Space Conference 2015 in Liverpool, and exhibiting! The opening day of the conference has been interesting, exciting and bookended by astronauts. The conference’s plenary session began with an upbeat assessment of the UK space industry, and the progress being made on the UK Space Growth Strategy of delivering a £40 bn sector by 2030; we’re currently at £11.8 bn. The plenary also had a presentation from Helen Sharman, Britain’s first astronaut; and the day ended with Tim Peake, Britain’s next astronaut, phoning into the conference from his preparations in Baikonur.

The European Space Agency’s new Director General, Prof Johann-Dietrich Woerner, gave a very inspiring presentation that put space at the heart of society, politics, science and technology and highlighted the need for new ambitions, disruptive technologies and a village on the far side of the moon! Other interesting presentations included Aleksandra Mir & Alice Sharp who explored the collaborations between art and space. Stuart Armstrong from the fantastically named ‘Future of Humanity Institute’ explained how we could colonise the universe, using natural resources from the planet Mercury. Stuart Marsh, from the Nottingham Geospatial Institute, described using a greater range of persistent features (rather than just urban and rocky features as previously used) to provide more complete maps of ground movement from InSAR. A thought provoking session on the use of Earth Observation data within Climate Services took place on day two, particularly on the need to start developing information products, rather than simply providing data and images.

The exhibition has also been positive. We’ve had good conversations with new people, reconnected with some old friends and given talks to groups of schoolchildren who attended as part of the conference’s Outreach / Education Programme.

Pixalytics stand at UK Space Conference

Pixalytics stand at UK Space Conference

At our first exhibition earlier this year, we published ten top tips for first time exhibitors; now we’d like to add an eleventh – Make sure you know whether or not you have a stand? We are not kidding! We’d reserved exhibition space within the Small Business Hub, which included a cocktail table, two stools and space for one pull-up banner. The plan looked like we were all on one big stand with tables distributed throughout; however, when we turned up yesterday we had our own stand complete with walls! This was a surprise to us, and all the other Small Business Hub exhibitors. The surprise was followed by creative thinking, a shopping trip and then we Blue Peter’d our stand! You can judge the results in the picture on the right.

The conference was great, and can’t wait until 2017!

4 Things We’re Doing Differently for our 2nd Exhibition

Pixalytics-show preview imageNext week the UK Space Conference 2015 takes place in Liverpool, and Pixalytics is exhibiting! Regular blog readers will know we recently undertook our first foray into exhibiting at Geo-Business 2015, and we learnt a huge amount. Second time around we’re doing things slightly differently:

Different Type of Exhibition – The UK Space Conference has a full programme of speakers, and is complemented by the exhibition; whereas Geo-Business was focussed around the exhibition and was complemented by a conference programme. This difference means the UK Space Conference exhibition will be visited mostly during coffee breaks and lunch. There will of course be people around not attending particular sessions, but on the whole it will be quieter during the conference programme. The question is how many people will take time out from eating and drinking to visit the exhibition?

Different Exhibiting Space – At our first exhibition we hired a space, and then had to fill it. This time we’re part of the Small Business Hub within the exhibition, and alongside a number of other small companies we’ll have a cocktail table, a pair of stools and space for one pull up banner. The lack of space is compensated by the fact it’s a much more cost effective way to exhibit. Obviously, there will be less to attract people’s attention to us, so how much of a footfall will we get in the hub?

Different Type of Attendee – All delegates have to pay to attend the UK Space Conference. In theory, the attendees will definitely want to be at the conference and will have clear links to the space industry; whereas with free entry exhibitions there is sometimes more of the ‘it could be interesting and lets have a look’ approach – we’re not knocking this, as we’ve used it a number of times ourselves. However, when money has to be paid out it lends a certain focus to attending. It will be interesting to see if this changes the quantity, or quality, of potential business leads visiting our stand.

Taking Less Promotional Material – One thing we learnt from our first experience was that we took too much promotional material, and we ended up bringing the majority back. The one advantage of over buying is that we already have promotional materials for this conference. We’ve had to design, and buy, a pull up banner, which is something new, otherwise we’ll only be taking the items we believe we’ll use.

There are a lot of different flavours of exhibitions. If you go to the industry focussed conferences you’re likely to be surrounded by competitors, if you go to customer focussed ones will they be interested in your products and if you go to niche exhibitions it may only be relevant to one part of your business. As a small company new to exhibiting, how do you know which one is right for you?

We’re finding this out by using the scientific process of experimentation; we’re trying two different conferences this year and will compare what we think they have achieved for us. Next year we may do something different again, until we find out what works best.

If you’re up at the UK Space Conference next week, pop into the Small Business Hub in the centre of the exhibition hall and say hello!