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esnc15Prof. Dr Nick van de Giesen, co-director of TAHMO, and Dr. Eugenio Realini won both as special prize winners in the University Challenge and as regional winners for the Netherlands in the 2015 European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC). Each year, the ESNC seeks services, products, and business innovations that use satellite navigation in everyday life. The prize pool in ESNC 2015 was valued at approximately 1 million Euros, which included cash awards, business incubation, business coaching, patent consulting, technical support, access to testing facilities, prototype development, publicity, marketing support, and much more. All of the winners were recognized on stage at a festive Awards Ceremony that took place on 20 October in line with the Satellite Masters Conference in Berlin, Germany.

The winning idea: GNSS (global navigation satellite system) monitoring of precipitable water vapour over East Africa using low-cost receivers.

African weather is poorly monitored, especially for forecast purposes. At the same time, African societies are vulnerable to extreme weather events. By far the most critical weather variable is rainfall. To make good predictions about rainfall, it is important to know how much water vapour the atmosphere contains. More water in the atmosphere means more rainfall. Traditionally, this amount of water is measured by weather balloons, but these are expensive and there are only few regular launches over Africa. GNSS signals travel slightly more slowly through moist air than through dry air. A GNSS receiver can measure the extra delay caused by moisture in the atmosphere, even though the differences are very small. Today, even low-cost GNSS receivers are so accurate that they can measure these delays. The plan is to add these low-cost GNSS receivers to the stations of the TAHMO (Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory) network around Lake Victoria. TAHMO is building a network of 20,000 robust and cost-efficient weather stations across Africa. By adding GNSS/Galileo receivers, it will be possible to greatly improve rainfall predictions.

For more information about the competition and TAHMO’s contribution, check out the ESNC website here.


Inhabitat.com is a weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing towards a smarter and more sustainable future. Read the article about ‘TU Delft Developing a Network Of 20,000 Weather Stations to Track Climate Change in Africa’ on this interesting website.

Photo credit: TAHMO

After a week of soldering, programming and teamwork, a cheer went up when 21 sensors, brought in from all corners of Africa, came online and started submitting their measurements to the internet. The sensors were designed by the winners of the TAHMO Sensor Design Competition. Final Challenge of the TAHMO Sensor Design Competition held in Nairobi 29 July [link].

Delta II

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TU Delft researchers are using gift cards to measure rainfall. Their odd sensors must eventually provide insights into hydrology in Africa and on the TU Delft campus [link].

Delta I

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Researchers at the department of water management (faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences) want to cover Africa with inexpensive weather stations made out of electronic gadgets, such as the Wii [link].

TEDx Delft

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Rolf Hut is a tinkerer. His main interest and source of a fun is using existing technology in a new and innovative way to measure the earth’s weather and climate. He likes to take apart machines and see what he can do with the components in it. The results of this MacGyvering is proof of concept testing of new measurement devices. The results of these efforts are used in the various projects that he is involved in, such as the Trans African Hydro Meteorological Observatory and Climate City Campus at Delft University of Technology.

To prove this technology, Rolf Hut let the rain come down on our main stage.

On 7 November 2011 over 900 people gathered in the beautiful city of Delft for the first TEDx event in Delft, the Netherlands: TEDxDelft. We had 20 live speakers on stage talking about a wide range of subjects. A few of our speakers: Theo Jansen, Irma Boom, Huba de Graaff, Leo Kouwenhoven, Erik Meijer, Lodewijk van den Berg, Kas Oostheruis, Bauke Steenhuisen and Lowie Vermeersch. More information on http://www.TEDxDelft.nl.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organised.

* (Subject to certain rules and regulations).

Talk by John Selker on vision, moving forward, Africa and TAHMO.