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Monitoring the progress of large cement plant construction in Ethiopia for European investment bank

Monitoring construction

Project duration: 2012 to 2013

Project leader: Tomáš Soukup

Technical lead: Jan Kolomazník

In the frame of the European Space Agency (ESA) multinational financial organizations support, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has been provided with number of demonstration cases to better understand, manage and test the growing potential of Earth Observation (EO) based information. The EIB is the long-term financing institution of the European Union. Outside the EU, the bank supports the EU’s cooperation and development policies. It is obvious, that such huge investment to the plant and surrounding infrastructure development may be conflicting in region affected.

Nevertheless, regular assessments of the environmental and social impacts of the activities undertaken in connection with the EIB loans are a necessary condition for receiving and maintaining the financing. EO services in land monitoring domain represent an efficient method to deliver contents and quality harmonized up-to-date information on land use and land cover for large areas. A retrospective mapping on these data has a potential to support the EIB loan monitoring activities and support the EIB contribution to accelerated, sustainable and inclusive growth, underpinned by stronger governance at central and local levels.

Gisat has provided the EO services to the EIB users in the frame of the joint ESA-EIB initiative EOEUROPE. Gisat’s support was focused on the Monitoring Progress of Large Cement Plant Construction in Derba, Ethiopia. Our company has provided the EIB users with spatial explicit and harmonized information on the Derba cement plant construction and related infrastructure development within 2007 - 2011 period. The service also provided quantitative and qualitative information on evolution of related land cover or land use in neighboring area, showing the spatial-temporal patterns and intensity of change.

The baseline service was created using Very High Imagery (VHR) from Kompsat 2 with 4m multispectral and 2m panchromatic data spatial resolution. In addition, to extracted GIS-ready spatial data, maps and statistical reports, Gisat has delivered also web-based data exploration tool filled with all these datasets. This tool was designed to support the dissemination of the service results and the assessment of the utility of our service. The overall results have provided up-to-date and independent information on plant development and identify some environmentally and socially harmful processes.

The assessment of the service by the EIB users was positive and the potential of EO derived information has been recognized. On the other hand, sustainable services for users must be visual, use human scales and up-to-date tools for effective communication. In this context, the online web tool made the real impact. Results can be viewed and explored in integrated form using at dedicated webpage here.


The company was founded in 1990 as a first Czech company providing geoinformation services in the area of remote sensing. The company is oriented on remote sensing and GIS applications including satellite data retail. The wide scope of services is based on partnerships with all major Earth observation satellite data providers. Gisat has extensive long-term experiences with leadership of international projects, as well as a solid knowledge of the specific situation in countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Its clients are both public administration bodies and companies from commercial and industrial sector.

What would you name as main benefits of the project to your company?

“The primary benefit from participation in projects like EOEUROPA, supporting multinational financial organizations, is simply the chance to get in contact with such large institution and to demonstrate our capabilities. Without ESA support, this initial contact would be more difficult to establish, demonstration would require substantial company investments and trust would take longer to be build. Later on, having the direct contacts and a better insight into the current operational processes and future needs in the institution, the service provider position is much stronger and follow-up activities more straightforward.”