Print 

Romanian student, awarded by ESA

on 02 October 2014

The team composed by Manuel Ciosici, a Romanian student established in Denmark, and three Danish students won the first prize of the third annual ESA App Camp, an event which took place at ESA’s ESRIN(the European Space Research Institute) centre in Frascati, Italy, and gathered twenty app developers from 11 countries.

Manuel Ciosici is describing the ESA App Camp experience as being unique and a real challenge:

„The camp consisted in a very intense week, in a special astmosphere, at one of the centers of the European Space Agency (ESA). Together with the team, we weresurrounded by some of the best specialists in their field, be it the space agency's experts or other participants in the camp. It's fascinating to talk with ESA experts who are very open and calmly explain the technical details of the Sentinel satellites or the Copernicus programme".

The goal of the competition was to bring Earth observation data – particularly coming from the European Copernicus environment-monitoring programme – to the everyday user through smartphones.

Each of the five teams had a week to create an app under the following categories: emergency and rescue management, marine environment and maritime transportation, lifestyle and tourism, environmental protection or agriculture. Their projects were ranked by the ESA judges on innovation, relevance for Copernicus, market and business value, feasibility of the concept and overall presentation.

The WaterSense app, developed by Manuel’steamwon the challenge. The group proposed the use of satellite data on water availability and soil moisture to assist farmers with irrigation.Their app would combine information from ESA’s Sentinel-1 mission with weather predictions from meteorological satellites to give farmers a field-by-field analysis of soil moisture, resulting in the better use of precious water resources.

Members of the winning team were each presented with a cash prize of €625. All teams were encouraged to apply to one of ESA’s 19 Business Incubation Centres to develop their ideas further.

The Romanian student encourages others to participate in such competitions, which can open your horizons, and he is looking with confidence towards the future, knowing that he can make a change for Europe:

"I fully encourage Romanians who are interested in the App Camp not to feel intimidated by the fact that it is an elite organisation and they compete against very good programmers and geographers. The hardest step is submitting the application for the camp. Then, during the camp, all that matters is work and creativity", says Manuel Ciosici.

„At the entrance in ESRIN flags of all the Member States are raised. Every morning I was quickly looking for the Romanian flag. And each time I felt responsibility knowing that I was the only Romanian in the application camp's group. I hope that future camps will have Romanian participants too, who will look for the Romanian flag at the entrance", Manuel added.

Born in Arad, Manuel is currently studying in Denmark, in the second year of Masters in Computer Science at the University of Aarhus and he is also assistant professor for the department of Ubiquitous Computing and student programmer for Data Intensive System department.

"After graduation I want to start a company together with my team mates from the App camp. We want to use Earth observation technologies to help the farmers in Europe", he added.