Advent-ures in Remote Sensing

Paola, Italy. Image acquired by Sentinel-2 on the 3rd April 2018. Image courtesy of ESA/Copernicus.

Time flies when you’re having fun, that’s why my first month at Pixalytics passed so fast. Like other students who have been here before me, I’m writing these words about my first impressions of my ERASMUS+ internship. As I said Pixalytics has had a number of other student’s, but unlike the majority of them, the aim of my internship isn’t remote sensing, it’s marketing and especially digital marketing.

I came here after a long and troubled journey from Italy, precisely from Paola a small town in Calabria, famous as the birthplace of Saint Francesco of Paola and the town, which you can see in the image at the top, houses a sanctuary dedicated to him. Due the cancellation of our flight and having a few unexpected days in Brussels, I eventually arrived and met my host family and started to get familiar with Plymouth, then finally met Samantha and Andrew. Andrew introduced me to the Science Park, to the team and to the office where I’m going to stay for the next 4 months.

Despite my internship being on marketing in the first week I read the Practical Handbook of Remote Sensing to initiate me into the world of satellite data, in order to understand the job done here at Pixalytics. I immediately became fascinated by this new world I discovered and was amazed by all the things that can be done thanks to satellites, like environmental monitoring, developing online mapping and tracking urban growth. Initially I spent a lot of hours practicing downloading and processing of satellite data from various online sources described in the book. I didn’t struggle to complete the exercises in the book, it is clear and easy to follow even for a neophyte of this subject. It gave to me the basic understanding of remote sensing.

If you are reading this blog, you’ll probably already know what remote sensing is. But if you don’t, then the term “remote sensing” generally refers to the use of satellite – or drone, UAV, aircraft-based sensor technologies – to detect and classify things on Earth. Actually, my aim here as a marketer is to make our products and services known to more people and for that purpose I’m developing our profile and presence on the web.

Satellites can produce some amazing images, but Pixalytics didn’t have an Instagram account and so wasn’t showing these to the world. This is my job! I set-up an Instagram account and we came up with our first campaign – an advent calendar with a picture of 24 images of European capitals, on the most popular social networks, like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

I found, downloaded and processed all the images for the campaign and we started posting an image a day with a description on the 1st of December with London. We’re going to end on Christmas Eve with Helsinki, as Finland is considered the home of Father Christmas.

I find it really interesting how many new people start looking at our photos day after day. I hope that this number will continue rising through the next month and beyond, to improve the awareness of Pixalytics and the website traffic, in order to be discovered by new potential clients. I’m sure if they decide to work with Pixalytics they will not regret their choice.

I’m really glad to have this opportunity to learn and to have an insight in this science field that has an endless number of potential applications and I would really thank Andrew and Sam for the trust that they are putting on me and I’ll do all I can to repay them. I am looking forward to the rest of my time here in Plymouth.

Blog written by Vincenzo Carnevale on an ERASMUS+ internship with Pixalytics.

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