On 13 August, Karin Berentsen signed the agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA). Here photographed with Terje Handeland of Validé, technology transferer for the ESA in Norway. (Photo: Hilde Garlid, Validé)
On 13 August, Karin Berentsen signed the agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA). Here photographed with Terje Handeland of Validé, technology transferer for the ESA in Norway. (Photo: Hilde Garlid, Validé)

The European Space Agency Believes in Karin’s Unique Mapping Tool

Can climate risk be transferred into something that one can measure? The weather gets warmer, wetter and wilder. Thanks to a recent agreement with the European Space Agency, Karin Berentsen can soon present her new and interactive mapping tool, which may be of great help in visualizing future projects’ footprint and climate risk.

“Let’s do it right” is the slogan of Berentsen, the CEO of the ARCT company.  She is currently working on a pilot project that will soon be ready to be presented to investors.

One of Berentsen’s key ideas is for the tool to contribute to making project development, among others in Arctic areas, more sustainable. Negative climate effects are to be minimized.

Visualizing climate risk is something both decision-makers and others working on area planning may need, for instance area-demanding projects, such as e.g. the construction of ports, windmill parks, aquaculture or mines, that require areas and that subsequently also may affect nature, climate, surroundings and people.

Visualization of infrastructure projects

The tool currently being tested is developed in Google Maps. Berentsen, who has more than 30 years of experience from Norwegian and international business, signed an agreement with the ESA providing the ARCT incubator company with some € 60,000. The funding for the project is from ESA Business Applications in response to the ESA Business Applications Kick-start competition on Commercial Climate Services.

– In this ESA project, we will look at climate risk and assess the use of ESA’s satellite images to visualize the footprint and climate risk of projects both before, during and after the commencing of a project, Berentsen says in an interview on the home pages of Validé, an innovation company.

– Timely accurate documentation is of fundamental importance to those of us who are developing a decision-making tool for risk and vulnerability assessment in area planning, Berentsen says. The fact that ESA’s satellite images have high resolution and are dated is a strength, the fact that Google does not date its images is a weakness.

– ARCT has not only developed a tool that easily visualizes the degree of risk and vulnerability, we have also developed a methodology that allows work processes to be repeatable. I have experienced myself that such tools are scarce, Berentsen continues.

When HNN speaks with the founder, she says she appreciates the recognition that lies in receiving support from an actor as significant as the European Space Agency.

– That motivates me, and there is also an opportunity that ESA may follow us onwards.

Solid supporters

ARCT, which was established in 2014, received NOK 1.8 million from Innovation Norway two years ago. This money has allowed Berentsen to develop the tool together with partners. The founder, who is at present the sole owner of ARCT, has also been selected for participation in several Norwegian incubator programs.

She has several partners on her team in the ESA project; among them the risk and classification company DNV GL, the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) and Cicero Center for International Climate Research.

Berentsen, who has previously worked with managing and assessing technical and non-technical risk in Statoil’s oil and gas development, a.o. in Alaska, hopes to offer the new tool to customers during 2018.

– Who are the prime customers?

– It can be anyone from advisors to various operators, to decision makers or policy makers. However, it is primarily a question of reaching decision makers and investors who are increasingly interested in the climate risk to which projects are exposed. The weather has become warmer, wetter and wilder. More rain and unpredictability increases the risk for landslides and storm surges, Berentsen says.

She says ESA’s satellite images can a.o. be used in a way that allows decision makers to know as much as possible about potential risks for a project prior to its commencing. That can save both time and money, either through dropping non-viable developments or through taking precautions during the project’s lifetime, rather than repairing the damage afterwards.


Looking for test projects

In addition to having a vast international network, the incubator company ARCT also has its own professional advisory board, members of which include a.o. Finnish business leader Tero Vauraste, Chairman of the Board of the Arctic Economic Council, and Lars Kullerud from Norway and the University of the Arctic.

Berentsen is currently looking for relevant projects to test her tool. Both real projects as well as case studies based on imagined scenarios may be of relevance.

– If anyone has a relevant project, please get in touch, the founder says.

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